Australian-designed Unmanned "Loyal Wingman" Aircraft to be developed with Industry

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The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence

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The Hon Steven Ciobo MP

Minister for Defence Industry

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27 February 2019

Joint Media Release

  • Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP


The Australian Government will partner with Boeing to advance an initial concept for an Australian-designed and developed unmanned aircraft system.

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, said the research and development opportunity was a further demonstration of the Australian Government’s collaborative and maturing relationship with Australia’s defence industry as well as international recognition of our strength and capabilities.

“The partnership will produce a concept demonstrator of a low cost unmanned ‘Loyal Wingman’ aircraft, capable of operating in concert with Air Force’s fifth generation air combat capability,” Minister Pyne said.

“There is significant value investing in innovative, future leaning initiatives like this, particularly in the early conceptual stages where Defence can explore concepts and define the role such capabilities can play in our national security framework.”

“This will be Boeing’s first unmanned aircraft designed and engineered in Australia and represents the company’s largest investment of its kind outside of the United States.”

Minister Ciobo said that Boeing will seek to team with large, medium and small Australian businesses and partner with research organisations, including universities and the Defence Science and Technology Group.

“The development and demonstration of this air vehicle will create around 100 new high-technology jobs in aerospace engineering and design in Australia, as well as wider job opportunities across the supply chain,” Minister Ciobo said.

“This proposal could lead to another exciting step forward in Australia’s defence export strategy and provide our allies with critical capabilities based on Australian ingenuity.”

Defence will invest approximately $10 million per year, up to $40 million to evolve development of this concept.

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