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New combat drones Australia will use to launch airstrikes on militants overseas has been revealed

REVEALED: The new combat drones Australia will use to launch airstrikes on militants overseas – after spending years building them in secret

  • A top-secret combat drone capable of carrying bombs is set to be unveiled today
  • Defence Minister Christopher Pyne will unveil the drone at aerospace trade show
  • Yet-to-be-named drone is collaboration between RAAF and Defence Department
  • The aircraft is the size of a jet and capable of flying several thousand kilometres

A top-secret Australian combat drone capable of carrying bombs will be unveiled on Wednesday after being constructed in secrecy.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne will reveal the yet-to-be-named unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Avalon aerospace trade show outside Melbourne.

The unmanned craft, which is roughly the size of a traditional jet fighter, was developed in Brisbane by aerospace giant Boeing in collaboration with RAAF and the Defence Department, ABC News reported.

A top-secret Australian combat drone (pictured) capable of carrying bombs will be unveiled on Wednesday after being constructed in secrecy

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne (pictured) will reveal the yet-to-be-named unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Avalon aerospace trade show outside Melbourne

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne (pictured) will reveal the yet-to-be-named unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Avalon aerospace trade show outside Melbourne

While details of the ‘Loyal Wingman’ project remain scant, it’s understood the primary purpose of the drone is to conduct electronic warfare and reconnaissance missions in ‘risky’ terrain.

The UAV is said to be capable of flying up to several thousand kilometres, and can also carrying sensors or electronic warfare equipment on its underside.

An industry source told the publication the drone could also potentially be used to carry bombs one day.   

While the drones aren’t expected to be deployed until mid-2020, when they are, they could be used alongside existing RAAF aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon.

The prototype is the first combat craft of its kind to be designed and developed in Australia in more than half a century. 

The unveiling comes after it was revealed last year the Government had chosen the American-produced MQ-9 Reaper as its first remotely operated aircraft system. 

The unmanned craft, which is roughly the size of a traditional jet fighter, was developed in Brisbane by aerospace giant Boeing in collaboration with RAAF and the Defence Department

The unmanned craft, which is roughly the size of a traditional jet fighter, was developed in Brisbane by aerospace giant Boeing in collaboration with RAAF and the Defence Department

While the drones aren't expected to be deployed until mid-2020, when they are, they could be used alongside existing RAAF aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon (pictured)

While the drones aren’t expected to be deployed until mid-2020, when they are, they could be used alongside existing RAAF aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon (pictured)

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also announced the government planned on spending $1.4billion on the first of six remote controlled spy planes.   

While the cost of the Boeing ‘Loyal Wingman’ remains unclear, the publication said the drone is believed to be the company’s largest investment outside of the US. 

If the drones are a success, the Australian-designed aircraft could be exported to other nations one day.

The unveiling comes after it was revealed last year the Government had chosen the American-produced MQ-9 Reaper (pictured) as its first remotely operated aircraft system

The unveiling comes after it was revealed last year the Government had chosen the American-produced MQ-9 Reaper (pictured) as its first remotely operated aircraft system

Australia’s first combat drones: what we know so far

  • The ‘Loyal Wingman’ project is the first Australian-designed and developed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) craft of its kind. 
  • It’s estimated that the UAV will be roughly the size of a traditional jet fighter, which is approximately 12metres.
  • The purpose of the drones are to conduct electronic warfare and reconnaissance missions – specifically ‘risky’ areas. 
  • The UAV is designed to fly up to several thousand kilometres.
  • The aircraft will have a large payload bay that can carry a sensor or electronic warfare equipment.
  • An industry source said the drones could potentially be used to one day carry bombs. 
  • The ‘Loyal Wingman’ drone comes after the government announced last November they had selected the American-produced MQ-9 Reaper as Australia’s first armed remotely piloted aircraft system. 
  • Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also announced last year the government was planning on spending $7billion on six American-made unmanned Triton spy planes.  
  • The cost of the project has not been revealed, but it is believed to be Boeing’s largest investment in drones outside the US. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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