Boeing has unveiled plans to build a new type of military drone aircraft in Australia.
Chicago-based aerospace giant Boeing has announced plans to build a new type of military drone aircraft in Australia.
Boeing said on Wednesday it has chosen the city of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland as the final staging area for its Loyal Wingman unmanned aerial vehicles. The first test flights were completed earlier this year.
The announcement comes less than a week after the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced a new security alliance that will provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The deal was condemned by China and has heightened tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Scott Carpendale, director of Boeing Defense Australia, said development of the new aircraft is going according to plan. He said it uses artificial intelligence to interact with manned aircraft and was conceived, designed and developed in Australia.
It is the first military fighter aircraft designed and produced in Australia in half a century. Boeing Australia is currently developing six of the aircraft in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force.
Carpendale said no orders have been confirmed, but the Australian government seems confident and happy with the Loyal Wingman’s capabilities.
“There is significant interest from other countries,” added Carpendale.
He said the drone will be built at a facility at Wellcamp Airport, which is owned by Wagner Corp.
Wagner chairman John Wagner said he hopes a defense and aerospace area at the airport will attract more companies in similar areas.
The project is expected to create 300 jobs during the construction of the facility and 70 ongoing operational and manufacturing positions.
Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the announcement was “great news” and that it is the first time Boeing has set up a facility of this type outside of North America.