Queensland will host the final assembly centre for Boeing’s Airpower Teaming System (ATS), the company has announced. Boeing’s Loyal Wingman, which was unveiled in early 2019, will be the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
According to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, “The creation of additional new aerospace capability could see unmanned defence aircraft produced here by the middle of the decade, with prototype testing and certification taking place before that.”
“Our investment in this advanced manufacturing project will provide critical skills for suppliers, academia and Boeing, and culminate in Queensland becoming the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, conditional on orders,” she added.
The first aircraft prototype, Loyal Wingman, is Boeing’s first military aircraft to be designed and developed outside the US and uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms.
Queensland is already home to Boeing’s largest workforce outside the United States.
The company has 1,700 staff in Queensland and supports 400 Queensland-based suppliers.
Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific President Brendan Nelson said the partnership with the Queensland government to develop an advanced manufacturing capability was a significant milestone for the company.
“It’s one that will build cutting-edge skills to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Queensland,” he said. “This includes introducing technologies such as advanced robotics; investment in universities, small-to-medium enterprises and start-up companies; as well as creating global export opportunities for Australia’s supply chain. This investment could unlock global defence and aerospace opportunities for Queensland to gain future work share in other Boeing programs.”