The Australian government is to co-develop an additional three Loyal Wingman aircraft with Boeing.

Boeing say here that it welcomes the announcement by the Australian government to co-develop a further three Loyal Wingman aircraft to advance the air-teaming vehicle, payloads and associated support and training capabilities.

“The agreement will increase the aircraft’s production capability to six aircraft for Royal Australian Air Force and is valued at $115 million over three years. The Loyal Wingman is the first military combat aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.”

“The Australian government’s continued investment in the innovative Loyal Wingman program will create jobs and opportunities for over 35 Australian suppliers and small businesses, including BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, AME Systems and Ferra Engineering,” said Dr. Brendan Nelson, president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific.

The contract will support the maturation of the aircraft design, evolution of current and future payloads, and create the sustainment system for the aircraft in operations.

It will also advance Airpower Teaming System advanced concepts through digital testing and demonstration.

“In addition to progressing the air vehicle design and support system, we will further develop the aircraft’s mission system including advanced AI decision-making capabilities and new payloads,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

“Continued digital engineering and significantly expanded live testing of the system will provide RAAF and Boeing with the ability to jointly take the concept to the next level, activities that are critical for us to rapidly understand how the Airpower Teaming System can be employed in the future battlespace.”

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Nice to see that the Aussies are pushing ahead with this cutting edge technology programme.

Having a cross party consensus with regards to national defence would create the kind of stable decision environment in which this type of risk could be taken, knowing that the programme isn’t going to be cut or tinkered with at the slightest challenge helps companies to commit wholeheartedly to a programme.

I hope that our Tempest programme gets the same ongoing support. Not seen any news with regards to Tempest, so hopefully they are just quietly getting on with it!

Cheers CR


Fortunately here in Oz both sides of politics pretty much have a bipartisan approach to Defence spending and Defence policy, they don’t agree on much else, but Defence, yes.

Currently the Government has planned RAAF projects out to 2030 with an approx value of $65 billion.

The ‘Teaming Air Vehicles’ (Loyal Wingman) project has a budget allowance of between $7.4b-$11b.



Hi JohnN,

I am aware of the bipartisan approach in Oz thanks to posts like yours and frankly I am quite jealous. We have had some absolutely howlers for defence reviews over the last, well how far back do you wish to go!

Cheers CR


Lets be honest even if we had a bipartisan approach with the present Labour Leadership it would mean nothing should son/daughter of Corbyn takes over in the future which is distinctly plausible. Its why a programme like Tempest concerns me and what any reversal of the commitment would mean to the wider defence industry (one of the few that are world competitive) generally and to BAE in particular. Equally the independent programs of Leonardo and Thales UK operations for that matter. Sadly that may come to nothing in the concerns of the one eyed entrenched views of the far left.… Read more »


I will also say that for the Australians the focus of their defence needs are somewhat more clear than those of the Uk simply by the relative locations and the direction from which threats will com and their purpose. Long range intelligence and strike capability have to be their prime focus be it in the air and sea to try to keep threats at long distance and for as long as possible.


Have you consider the Chinese government sleepers amongst that most qualified group of immigrants that have education, ce skills, millions of Renminbi or $US as well as he fmmand of english. Man


Mate I’ve been following UK Defence for many decades, indeed prior to the Falklands war.

And I’ve also watched the slash and burn too, it’s been sad to watch how each of the UK services have been gutted.

I hope the Review has a better outcome than has been speculatively reported.

Again, we’ve been pretty lucky here in Oz for a while now, no slash and burn, the opposite actually, increased spending has allowed for older capabilities to not only be replaced, but expanded too, and new capabilities such as Loyal Wingman.


Sean Crowley

That’s right John , these three were already on the board before the first saw daylight , these are not prototypes they are pre-production and more than publicly stated are envisaged :MUCH MORE . The F-35 is a game changer and too many people are treating it like an 1980’s F-15/16/18 or 2020 Typhoon , the F-35 is a new way of fighting and you cannot put it with old jets like Typhoon without being detrimental . Fat 18’s are good for classic engagement and sea lane clearing via weapons integrated on them and Growler would be an aspect to… Read more »


Hi Watcherzero, Two very interesting articles, much appreciated. Nice to see that Dragonfire is still moving forward. The mirrors sounded very interesting as I wonder whether the coatings they discussed could not be applied as a surface finish to the ‘targets’ as a counter measure. There must be reasons why it is not a simple undertaking or why bother developing Lasers if a counter measure is so simple? I was aware of the option of updating the EJ200 with Reactions Engines technology at least for a technology demonstrator. It would give RE a revenue stream at least, which reading between… Read more »

George Royce

Wish we’d get our act together with BAE Taranis.


That was about 10 years ago and came to nothing!

As per usual we seen to have invested in UAV’s on a very ad hoc and service focused basis – Taranis, Watchkeeper, Scan Eagle, Hermes, Reaper, and now Protector and Tempest.

1 small recon UAV that can be carried around in a packing case sized unit for The Army and Royal Navy would be nice, with the bigger combat drones (Protector and then the Tempest derivative) for the RAF.


Amazing really, when I went down to Oz in late 2012 to work on the L121 Project, collectively the Oz military were operating with a lot of old and outdated kit. Yet in the last 10 yrs, they have delivered Heavy Trucks, New Bridging and are steaming ahead with Boxer, M113 Replacement and this project. They may have been late to the party, but it is defiantly round at their place now, and the barbie is going at full pleat turning out the steaks and burgers !