It is already tomorrow in Australia, apparently in more ways than one. It's the 27th already, yes, but they also work to put together AI whistle companion for their warriors. Why didn't we think about it? It's a Boeing Australia joint, but maybe they're going to pull out on US facilities and we can snake one of the lines. I know a guy.
The aircraft, currently under development but scheduled for the first flight in 2020, is meant to be a loyal wing man to pilots flying military missions – as you might guess from the name "Loyal Wingman". Officially the full name is the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, "as acronyms for BATS, but they do not look or appear much like bats, so this will probably not be underlined.
These are mainly drones that will follow With other crafts, flying in formation and providing defensive abilities, it is a power multiplier, which is important for governments that cannot mark as many pilots or primary vessels (ie modern fighters) as countries that have invested more in the air.
Boeing International's President, Marc Allen, (of course) emphasized this international activation aspect of the boat in a statement:
This aircraft is a historic effort for Boeing, not only developed outside the United States, it is also designed to allow our global customers integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides defense capability and our clients – led by Australia – Effective partners on the program with the ability to grow their own supreme abilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce.  In other words, it's nice to see some investment outside the US, and diversify the portfolio a bit.
A full-scale mock-up was revealed at the Australian National Airshow today:
The Loyal Wingman is 38 meters long and should have a 2,300 kilometer range. It will fly independently, but will almost certainly also remotely, and can be equipped with a variety of sensor packages and other treats. I wouldn't expect these to come into some dogfights, though. They are meant to be supportive and provide reconstruction and surveillance tasks that cannot be done from, for example, a research or cargo vessel.
Given the popularity, in military circles anyway, of drones like solo recon, this type of "extra pair of eyes" duty makes much sense, and seems inevitable. If Boeing's approach is to take off in governments all over the world, it surely depends on the performance, so we will see this story back in 2020 when the Wingman actually takes flight.