Som The War Zone
was the first to report, Boeing is set to uncover an eerie unmanned combat aircraft, or UCAV, for the Royal Australian Air Force at this year's Avalon Air Show in Australia. The pilotless aircraft seems to be a formerly unseen clean sheet design and will serve as a "loyal wingman" with manned aircraft, as Australia's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) was the first to receive details of the new drone on February 26, 2019. The day before, Boeing had plagued the official disclosure of the unmanned aircraft, which is still scheduled to arrive on February 27, 2019.
The unmanned aircraft in the picture has a twin-shaped "tailor-made" configuration similar to YF-23 Black Widow, as well as wings centrally mounted on each side of the hull. The wings are similar to those found on General Atomics Predator C / Avenger, and more recently, to a set of mysterious Scaled Composites test flights. It also appears to have travazoidal air intakes on either side of the hull, probably feeding a single jet engine recessed at the back to minimize infrared signature. Drone's plan shape differs from the company's MQ-25 Stingray drone thoughts for the US Navy and appears to be completely independent of the earlier Phantom Ray flight wing signal.
Apart from the picture, seen at the top of this story and below, ABC got further details about the drone's abilities. The report suggested that the UCAV could be nearly 40 meters long and has a modular payload that can accept sensors, electronic war systems and ordinances.
Boeing has reportedly developed the unmanned aircraft locally in Brisbane, Australia, as part of a classified "Royal Wingman" program for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australia's Defense Department (DOD). Australia's Defense Minister Christopher Pyne will be the one who formally uncovers the drone tomorrow, according to ABC.
Vice President of RAAF Air Vice Marshal Gavin Turnbull referred to this project in an interview published by the Australian Strategic Institute on February 27, 201
"When it comes to banging for the money, it is so that we can have the greatest effect in making our people successful in every battle environment they have to enter," Turnbull explains. "We must be able to provide a deterrent level that means if you sneak at us and we have to bite, it's going to hurt."
"So, in the future, you must take into account what the power mix looks like between manned and unmanned combat units," he continued. "And it will always be a synergy by mixing them in some way."
War Sons Tyler Rogoway just touched on these potential benefits of Australia who received a UCAV capability in yesterday's article, writes:  An unmanned airliner capable of some semi-autonomous missions and can operate in the loyal Wingman roll, where it is connected and takes directions from a nearby manned platform via data link, makes a lot of sense to Australia, as it would increase its air combat capabilities without having to buy extra high cost matches or train new airplanes. survivors and able to adapt to enemy threats on the fly, as well as increase their fighter cadre's magazine capacity, sensor diversity, range. v can also be connected in a swarm, giving them greater capacity than the sum of their parts.
These concepts can be manifested in different aircraft, or potentially mixed together in a single plane, albeit with some compromises. However, they should be cheaper than a very ugly, high-end, fly-wing UCAV built for semi-autonomous or autonomous operations deep in enemy territory.
A full-on-fighter-like UCAV is also possible, but due to the cost and investment that Australia has already made in its growing fleet of F-35, this seems doubtful at this time. Also, high kinetic performance would mean sacrificing whims and reach, which makes little sense really. And we know the features Boeing has shown that this aircraft is designed for fighter-like speed and maneuverability, not extreme stealthiness and long range.
Boeing was the first to clearly demonstrate the incredible potential of unmanned aerial vehicles (UCAVs) nearly two decades ago, but has since struggled to get the vision into an operational state. With this in mind, tomorrow's announcement will be a big bargain for the Chicago-based planner and will only open up new opportunities. In addition, Boeing also considers Navy & # 39; s MQ-25 contract, the company is now stuck ahead of advanced unmanned aircraft development.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: 3:25 PM PST-
Looks like someone got top in the Boeing tent on Avalon. That's what seems to be a mockup. A prototype is possible because of the poor quality of the image, but it is doubtful. Still, it gives us a sense of scale.
Now Boeing has just posted this video showing CGI of the aircraft in actions in manned machine layer mode along with an Aussie Growler and an E-7 Wedgetail. Oh, and the name is officially Boeing Airpower Teaming System:
A clearer picture of the mockup:
UPDATE: 3:47 PM PST-
] Some Basic Facts About Air Airpower Teaming System:
- It is built in Australia and intended for export worldwide. Exports will be easier without having to go through the US FMS process.
- The development of the system has been shared approximately 60/40 between the Australian Defense Ministry and Boeing, while Boeing took the bulk of the deal by spending around $ 62 million on the program.
- A prototype is being built now
- Can fly with or without a manned partner.
- Has a range of about 2,000 miles.
- Is 38 meters long and uses a bizjet-class engine.
- Will added with E-7, EA-18G, F / A-18E / F and P-8 Poseidon.
- Modular design for "snap-in" payloads and fast reconfiguration function.
- Initial configuration will be sensor / intelligence and electronic war focus. ] Controlled via ground station, other aircraft, and has some autonomy that can be scaled for the mission.
- The design was mainly based on what would be attractive to a global market full of cash-strapped air arms.
- Will be tested over Australia's great deserts where there are tons of experimental rooms. (Probably based on Woomera)
- The technology and development will be sourced locally in Australia.
- Boeing will be able to adapt technology to foreign customers much easier than developing and building in the United States.
You can read more here at Aviation Week & # 39; s embargoed exclusive. I will do a large image analysis soon that addresses issues that are not discussed in the report.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com