Boeing to launch new Australian-made wingman-capable UCAV

The Boeing Airpower Teaming System UCAV. Photo c/o Boeing.

US aviation giant Boeing, together with the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) will be unveiling their new Airpower Teaming System (ATS) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) today, as Avalon Airshow 2019 in Australia officially opens.

The project is joint development between Boeing and the Australian DoD based on a 60:40 sharing agreement and is Boeing’s first major UAV development outside the US. Australia’s investment was confirmed to be at A$40 million.

The Australian-developed and made Boeing ATS is their offering for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) requirement for a “Loyal Wingman” UCAV requirement, and is also intended to be for export to friendly countries, without the need to go through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

Based on initial information released by Boeing, the ATS UCAV will be around 38 feet (11.7 meters) long, has a designed range of 2,000 miles (3,700 kilometers), will be using a commercial turbofan engine similar to those used by business jets, and has a modular design to allow easy reconfiguration.

It is designed to benefit from low acquisition and sustainment cost, 

The ATS UCAV can be paired to a manned aircraft, including the RAAF’s current assets including the F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18E Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and the E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning & control aircraft. But it could also be flown from a ground-based control center, similar to other UAV and UCAV systems.

Initially, the development will focus on integrating surveillance and electronic warfare equipment unto the ATS UCAV.

[1] Boeing
[2] The Warzone
[3] The Guardian
[4] CNN

Boeing to launch new Australian-made wingman-capable UCAV Boeing to launch new Australian-made wingman-capable UCAV Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on February 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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