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Boeing Phantom Works ATS (Airpower Teaming System)


Loyal Wingman / Attritable UAV


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from Boeing press release / marketing materials.
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Image from Boeing press release / marketing materials.

The Boeing Phantom Works ATS is a largely Australian-made UAV product intended for the global marketplace focused on American and Australian allies.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 9/15/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
For decades, warplanners have envisioned skies where drones would fly side-by-side with manned warplanes, augmenting existing capabilities of latter aircraft types. Boeing, with assistance from the Australian government and Australian local industry, has gone on to unveil the "Airpower Teaming System" (ATS), a modular Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) intended to provide a budget-concious unmanned solution to American and Australian allies. The air vehicle is to work in conjunction with existing, current-generation Boeing products like the "Super Hornet" multirole naval fighter and the newer P-8 "Poseidon" maritime patroller.

The drone's development is being headed by Boeing's own Phantom Works International division and was debuted at the Australian Avalon Air Show in February of 2019. A technology demonstrator is planned next under the "Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program" (LWADP) and the end-goal is to produce an air vehicle capable of completely autonomous direction under Artificial Intelligence (AI) operating with manned aircraft or independently as needed.

The product is made possible through funds provided, in part, by the Australian government (nearly $30 million USD over the course of four years) with direct support from the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) with an eye towards local Australian production of the completed, production-quality air system (this to involve names like BAe Systems Australia). Foreign involvement in the product also eases availability and procurement for interested foreign parties as is the case with other foreign Boeing projects like the "Wedgetail" program (now flying with South Korea and Turkey). Additionally, the program helps to evolve a growing and maturing local Australian defense industry to meet future requirements as well as self-sustainment goals.

The finalized ATS design will carry an existing lightweight turbofan engine currently of unknown make, model, and output. It is estimated with a range equal to 2,300 miles (2,000 nautical miles), able to operate over land and water with equal effectiveness. The current appearance of the aircraft (largely engineered in Australia) showcases an extended nose section, side-mounted intakes aspirating the sole engine installation, shoulder-mounted wing mainplanes, and a "V-style" tail unit (no horizontal tailplanes are featured). The mainplanes have an unbroken, sweptback leading edge and compound trailing edge that is both swept forward (inboard panel) and sweptback (outboard panel). "Chining" is used about the edges of the fuselage to promote inherent "stealthiness" and a traditional tricycle undercarriage (retractable) is featured for ground-running. As currently drawn up, the air vehicle has an overall length of 38 feet though other dimensions remain under wraps.

Internally, the mission payload of the drone will encompass various Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) fits through a modular systems approach - making for quick exchanges of equipment as needed per sortie. Beyond this, the ATS will have an Electronic Warfare (EW) capability to further enhance its over-battlefield value.

If the ATS program comes to fruition, it will usher in a new era of unmanned warfare, the next logical step in achieving a battlefield that involves AI and drone aircraft fighting side-by-side with their human overlords. Eventually, the battlefield may very well become dominated by unmanned vehicles in whole - leaving humans completely out of the equation.



February 2020 - The first major fuselage component of the ATS has been completed by Boeing Australia.

April 2020 Power-on status of the ATS has been achieved, marking a major milestone in the unmanned aircraft program between the United States and Australia.

May 2020 - The ATS is set to be unveiled by Boeing on May 5th, 2020.

September 2020 - The ATS has run its engines for the first time.

Specifications



Year:
2030
Status
In-Development
Crew
0
[ 1 Units ] :
Boeing Company / Boeing Australia - USA / Phantom Works International; BAe Systems - Australia
National flag of Australia National flag of United States Australia (possible); United States (possible)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- X-Plane / Developmental
- Unmanned
Length:
37.99 ft (11.58 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Boeing Phantom Works ATS production model)
1 x Turbofan engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Boeing Phantom Works ATS production model)
Max Range:
2,302 miles (3,705 km; 2,001 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Boeing Phantom Works ATS production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Mission arrangement consists of equipment centered on the Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) role utilizing a modular approach.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Boeing Phantom Works ATS production model)
ATS ("Airpower Teaming System") - Base Program Name.
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