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A large drone designed for electronic warfare, which could eventually carry bombs, will be publicly unveiled today after being secretly developed with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The drone is the first combat aircraft designed and developed in Australia in more than 50 yearsThe cost of the project has not been revealed, but it is believed to be Boeing's largest investment in drones outside the USOnce fully developed, the drone could eventually be exported to other nations, sources said
The unmanned system is roughly the size of a traditional jet fighter and was quietly developed in Brisbane by aerospace giant Boeing, in collaboration with the RAAF and the Defence Department.
The demonstrator is being developed under the Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program, which is being supported by A$40 million ($28.5 million) over four years in Australian government funding and A$62 million from Boeing—its largest investment in an unmanned-aircraft program outside the U.S.
The 38-ft.-long aircraft has a stealthy chined fuselage, lambda-planform wing, caret inlets and butterfly tail and is powered by a single commercial turbofan—an unspecified light business-jet engine. The ATS is designed to fly independently or in tandem with manned platforms, using artificial intelligence to maintain a safe distance between aircraft.
Performance details are sparse. The ATS has a range of 2,000 nm and the ability to keep up with the types of platforms with which it will team, such as the RAAF’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft and electronic-attack EA-18G Growlers, and its commercial-derivative airborne-early-warning E-7A Wedgetails and maritime-patrol P-8A Poseidons—all of which are Boeing-built.
"Allies around the world are looking for ways to maximize and extend their [force] structures. Autonomous systems and some of the technologies behind them can make more of a game-changing leap in affordability and quantity, to complement their existing fleets,” she says. Boeing sees low cost, both as a vehicle and as a system teamed with manned platforms, as an inherent advantage
originally posted by: Blackfinger
Stealth doesnt make you totally invisible (unless your the F117).