Boeing has selected Toowoomba as the preferred site to build the 'Loyal Wingman' Airpower Teaming System.
The site, developed in partnership with the Queensland Government in the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct at Wellcamp Airport, will be the company’s first aircraft assembly facility of its kind outside of North America.
The Loyal Wingman made its first flight in February 2021.
“In choosing Wellcamp Airport, Boeing have taken an important step towards delivering their purpose-built final assembly facility. This has the potential to greatly improve our state’s advanced manufacturing capability and help shape a workforce of Queenslanders with the skills to build some of the world’s most cutting-edge aircraft,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“This announcement follows our success with Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport last December, of which Boeing was a first user," Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said. "It’s the result of an arrangement our government entered into with Boeing Australia last year to support the establishment of the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Loyal Wingman here in Queensland, subject to defence orders.
"It’s expected the project could generate up to $1 billion dollars for Queensland’s economy over 10 years, with more than just defence industries to benefit."
The uncrewed aircraft is designed to operate as a team, using artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of crewed and uncrewed platforms.
“We are confident in the future production outlook for this world-class, innovative aircraft,” said Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director Scott Carpendale. “We’re thinking long-term about this investment, which could assist Australia to gain future work share in other global defence and aerospace opportunities, in addition to the Loyal Wingman assembly.
“The Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct location is attractive due to its access to a flight line, clear flying days, commercial flight access from major cities and ability to support the rapid pace at which the Airpower Teaming System program is growing.
“Sustainable aerospace is a critical focus for Boeing, and Wagner Corporation’s use of sustainable construction methods supports our vision to create a leading sustainable aerospace manufacturing facility from the ground up, including renewable technologies and human-centric design,” Carpendale said.
Boeing Australia is currently developing six aircraft in partnership with the RAAF, with flight testing ongoing.