BLUFThe Loyal Wingman unmanned system is the cutting-edge of future Australian air power.
Will the future of Australia's air power be characterised by the combat advantage gained from manned aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or armed UAS? Boeing Australia is weighing in with the unveiling their cutting-edge Loyal Wingman Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) during the 2019 Avalon Air Show. The platform, Australian designed and built, offers energy to Australia’s future defence industry and it opens up a conversation about where Australia might take its air power in the future. Malcolm Davis from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute describes the Loyal Wingman as a force multiplier, with long-range power projection and force protection two key capabilities. He argues the Loyal Wingman extends Australia’s air defence envelope further north, perhaps restoring some long-range strike power lost from the F-111C’s retirement. Boeing aims to produce an operational capability quickly, the first flight scheduled for 2020. As you get to know the capability, consider the difference in ethical and legal implications between delivery of air power via a UAS and CAUV. How might we address these challenges?