At the Avalon Airshow in Australia on 27 February, Boeing unveiled a model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (BATS), an unmanned aerial system (UAS) specifically designed for air control missions, according to the company’s statement.
Representing Boeing’s largest investment in a new UAS programme outside the US, BATS, the first Boeing UAS developed in Australia, will complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft. As a research and development activity, the Australian government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator, designated the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Programme, that will inform subsequent production of BATS.
“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned/unmanned missions,” stated Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems, Kristin Robertson. “With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power.”
BATS, for which the first flight is planned to take place in 2020, will:
- Provide fighter-like performance, measuring 11.7m in length with a range of over 2,000 nmi;
- Integrate sensors to support ISR and EW missions;
- Use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.
“This aircraft is a historic endeavour for Boeing. Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements,” explained Boeing International President, Marc Allen. “The Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides a transformational capability in terms of defence, and our customers – led by Australia – effectively become partners on the programme with the ability to grow their own sovereign capabilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce.”