Australian-designed AI military drone unveiled

by Muizat Hameed
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An Australian military drone designed to use Artificial Intelligence in targeting enemies has been unveiled

The drone will be the first to be designed and built locally in the past 50 years.

The drone, called the Loyal Wingman Drone, which was developed by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and US manufacturer Boeing, has a range of 3,700 kilometers and will begin its ground testing today, then proceed into taxi tests and flight tests later in the year.

The Federal Government has contributed $40 million towards the historic and secretive project.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the aircraft’s development as a “truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defence innovation”.

Mr Morrison said, “The Loyal Wingman will be pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies into the future.”

Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, said the unveiling of this first drone was a significant milestone in the Boeing Loyal Wingman project.

“This project is an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved working together with defence industry,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

The RAAF plans to procure three drones, which Boeing calls the Airpower Teaming System (ATS), as part of the Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program.

ATS uses artificial intelligence to complement and extend missions flown by traditional combat aircraft.

Mass production of the unmanned jet fighter is likely to begin by the middle of the decade.

“We are expecting middle of the decade, maybe a bit earlier, that this will be in production,” Boeing’s Shane Arnott said.

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