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Boeing Loyal Wingman: A combat drone that leans hard on AI

The unmanned combat drone is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and built in Australia in more than half a century.

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The Loyal Wingman is designed to fly alongside existing platforms and use artificial intelligence to conduct teaming missions.
The Boeing Company

The release of the long-awaited Top Gun sequel has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, crushing the hopes of seeing a renewed Tom Cruise-Val Kilmer bromance anytime soon. But luckily, at least one wingman is still rolling. 

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Earlier this month, Boeing Australia delivered the first of three prototype drones to the Royal Australian Air Force. The aircraft, nicknamed Loyal Wingman, is part of Boeing's Aircraft Teaming System designed to lean heavily on artificial intelligence.

This is Boeing's largest military investment outside of the US. The drone was engineered using what Boeing calls a "digital twin," which is essentially an advanced 3D scan of the aircraft that can be used for testing. Watch the video to see how the process works.  

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The drone was manufactured with Boeing's largest-ever resin-infused single composite piece.

The Boeing Company