Robot Fighter Jets Are Here – Meet Boeing's Loyal Wingman Drone

Robot Fighter Jets Are Here – Meet Boeing's Loyal Wingman Drone

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Like the leap from propeller to jet, the next great sep is upon us in military aviation, and this one, is a little more terrifying

After all, its replacing the pilot with silicon.

Introducing the loyal wingman, the next generation of military aircraft that is going to literally take the man out of the pilot seat.

New drones like the Turkish Bayraktar have literally changed the tide of war and their role in the future cannot be ignored anymore.

The technology is quickly reaching the point where its more effective to operate a fleet of droned aircraft than meat-based fighter pilots. But does this herald a golden age, or are we simply setting up ourselves for a real life terminator?

Let’s jump into it.

Drones go back farther in time than you might realize. The first military drone-like object were the balloon bombs that Field Marshall von Radetsky of Austria used to attack Venice – rather unsuccessfully, I might add – in 1849.

Their capabilities have become increasingly sophisticated. Importantly, drones are being developed to be used in lock-step with manned aircraft, such as fighter jets.

The emerging class of super-smart drones known as the ‘Loyal Wingman’ are already being tested and their role with sixth-generation fighter jets is of particular interest

Over time, UAVs or drones have evolved to include missions such as manned-unmanned teaming, aerial refueling, electronic warfare, and other modes of military-related functionality.
In fact just recently the US performed the first mid-air refueling with a drone aircraft, breaking ground in the class’s utility.

A recent report stated that over 5,000 drone aircraft will be built per year by 2027, in over 101 countries as a part of their military operations. So far there are 50 or so development programs, but only a handful of nations have seen, air quotes, killer results.

Top players include the worlds powers as US, China, Russia, EU and UK, but surprisingly entries are also Australia, Japan and South Korea, which we will get to in a moment.

The Blackhorse in the race to build military drones is Turkey, whose new TB2 Bayraktar performing very well in recent conflicts in the region.

The Boeing ATS, also referred to as Loyal Wingman, is the epitome of a modern UAV, which means it’s all about stealth and being multi-functional.

Importantly, it serves the role of what is known as a force multiplier aircraft that can fly alongside manned aircraft. It can also be used for autonomous missions. Importantly, artificial intelligence or AI is integral to the central design philosophy and various capabilities of Boeing’s Loyal Wingman.

A key technical feature of this military drone is its modular mission package system, whereby its AI is located in its nose.

The craft’s nose can be quickly and easily removed and replaced with another nose having a completely different set of equipment or armament guidance systems, while the spy tech or weapons are loaded in the internal bay. This means the Loyal Wingman can be quickly deployed for a variety of different and very specific missions, which can include combat, reconnaissance and, most specifically to this class of UAV, electronic warfare.

The nose, by the way, is 2.5 metres or 8.2 feet long and offers a storage volume of more than 1.5 metres or 5 feet cubed.

But what weapons will it carry? Sorry to disappoint, but so far Boeing has been tight-lipped leaving us only speculation. We know that air to air missions might be equipped with Aim-9s for bomber escorts and inceptions, and we would rule out tactical ground strikes.

Furthermore, another plus is that its fuselage is made of composite materials that use an advanced resin-infusion process, which results in a lighter and more durable craft.

The drone has an integrated on-board sensor package that should more than ably support its three core functions, namely intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, as well as tactical early warning missions. Besides allowing the drone to fly independently or support a manned aircraft it accompanies, its in-built AI also ensures that it maintains a safe distance between itself and other aircraft at all times.

The specifications of the Loyal Wingman include the following:
Crew: None – well, that should be obvious!
Length from tail-end to nose tip: 11.7 m or 38 feet 5 inches
Wingspan: 7.31 metres or 24 feet across
Range: 3,700 km or 2,300 miles, which equates to 2,000 nautical miles.

Boeing claims that its Loyal Wingman will ultimately have performance comparable to that of a conventional fighter jet. In the words of Boeing:
“It will provide fighter-like performance.”


  1. Hoonbernator on September 19, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    At what stage of the development do we decide to put red eyes on them?

  2. Shah Yawar on September 19, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    I wonder what could go wrong if these got hacked into…

  3. Dark Side of the force on September 19, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    Can’t they just get hacked

  4. theannoynggamerlovestheusa on September 19, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    me: remembering black ops 2 also me: oh no

  5. Anarchy420 on September 19, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    The MQ-28 Ghost Bat!👍

  6. rockety21 on September 19, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Found and explained: *brings up the bayraktar drone as being good in 2021*
    Me in 2022: you don’t even know

  7. nexttt on September 19, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    I made a another version of it!

  8. Tyler Burgess on September 19, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    1:30 “meat based fighter pilots”
    6:30 as scored in a tennis match “six – nil” (That’s unpossible)

  9. Jitto Joseph on September 19, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    This is how skynet was born

  10. Lee Hansen on September 19, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    G forces are limited by manned aircraft, by the pilot. The second limitation is the airframe of the plane or drone.
    The damage from excessive G forces sometime doesn’t appear until years later when major components begin to fail and the craft comes apart catastrophicly!
    The F15 eagle started crashing and no one knew why! NOT pilot error and no emergency declaired in the cockpit! Further examinations found main longerons in the fuselage were cracking and some failing due to excessive G forces over decades of flying. The entire fleet was grounded, secretly, and major repairs were made to make the planes air worthy again.
    All air vehicles, maned or not, can fail from extended and repetitive excessive G forces. This applys to UAV also but the cost in lives is now only a factor should the UAV come apart over a populated area!

  11. Botlhale Mashiane on September 19, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    wait so, if its hacked and inserted with a virus, what happens then 👀👀👀

  12. Graeme Thomson on September 19, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Might as well just call it HAL 9000 and get it over with lol.

  13. GreenLightMe on September 19, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Zalensky needs these right away

  14. Tom Dalgleish on September 19, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for giving us almost no technicalities, only banalities delivered as though you are a kindergarten teacher talking to babies.

  15. Professor Jay Tee on September 19, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    "Loyal" Wingmen up until any remote control systems get hacked (or backdoored) by China. Better to focus on FULLY autonomous AI partners.

  16. Stefan on September 19, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    If future wars are fought by un-crewed planes and tanks, how do we know who won?

  17. Another number on September 19, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    Lol Boeing tests out loyal wingman in the us. The thing taxies out backwards!! like the Aussies on top gear 😂😂

  18. Shawn Meanney on September 19, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    I don’t understand why we have to give all are secrets away to are enemy’s.Even if they already know 75% of them,we don’t have to give the other 25% of our intelligence to them.Where do you think china gets all of their idea’s.

  19. no taboos on September 19, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    "fighter jet" what a childish expression. As opposed to what; a "fighter propeller"? Why not just say "fighter aircraft"? Everyone knows we have had only jets since the mid-50s.

  20. Koa1989 on September 19, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    Did you see that we might also allow you australians to be a part of the b 21 program though it did sound like if we do it would be a version that cannot deploy nuclear weapons

  21. Jason Borne on September 19, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Nah this some Belkan fuckery

  22. KIKETEVECU2 on September 19, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    If you want to know how effective your weapon is, send it to Ukraine, under real battlefield conditions, this is the way to reduce the menace from that Criminal Russian Regime

  23. Jazmir Muhammad Vialli on September 19, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Imagine if loyal wingman gets hacked by crazy russian hacker in russias territory

  24. Phil Lord on September 19, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    Great doco, however it’s pronounced r double A f = RAAF 🇦🇺🤙

  25. Ramiz Qurbanli on September 19, 2022 at 9:13 pm


  26. Owl Encyclopedia on September 19, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Good job..

  27. zeus on September 19, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    what a lot of shit

  28. Paul O'Sullivan on September 19, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Well I am sure there will be no problems, I mean hackers arent a thing right?

  29. savvy5555 on September 19, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Unnmaned fighter jets will never replace real pilots they can work with each other but in the end no program can beat a human mind in the most dynamic thing combat

  30. Mega Fauna on September 19, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    The advanced Australian ‘loyal wingman’ drone is primarily designed to seek out perfect 6 foot A frame surfing waves, spunky chicks and cheap beer.

  31. Xidis on September 19, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    One step closer to skynet.

  32. 6194th on September 19, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    *Introduces the loyal wingmen*

    Ace combat 7 players: Allow us to introduce ourselves!

  33. Worsie Poepies on September 19, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Why not A.I assisted aircraft?

  34. Jazmir Muhammad Vialli on September 19, 2022 at 9:28 pm


  35. Παυλος Χαραλαμπους on September 19, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    The problem with the entire idea of complete automatisation is that a machine will obey orders no matter what regardless of moral implications
    You need someone to have to take the moral weight of a strike
    Also drones require an entire support network like satellites for example that many countries supply can afford

  36. Harley Milani on September 19, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    This was designed in Australia no?

  37. Item69 on September 19, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Loyal Wingman was a good name, then Boeing HQ ruined it by calling it Ghost Bat.

  38. Atkoaj246 on September 19, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    Also the pilot would me much calmer when piloting a drone since they arent in any actual danger

  39. J-Busy on September 19, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    The Turkish drone is proving to be very reliable in Ukraine right now.

  40. 181. Filo on September 19, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Missile missile missile!!!

  41. watintarnation on September 19, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Not really terminator, more like EDI from Stealth (2005).

  42. nolanlander1919 on September 19, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    The loyal wing man program + Flying aircraft carrier program

  43. nenuu91iscool on September 19, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    the best part is, drones don’t hesitate while bombing the middle east! very convenient

  44. AJ Abat on September 19, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    The real name is MQ-28A28

  45. Dr. Joy on September 19, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Why are we engineering our own replacement.

  46. Chandrachur Niyogi on September 19, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    the Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS autonomous multi role fighter support drone will require additional internal weapons carriage capability . . . the internal weapons bay of the Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS autonomous multi role fighter support drone should be able to accommodate five AGM-158E JASSM LR air-to-surface land attack cruise missile & four AIM-120J AMRAAM BVR air-to-air missile . . . the Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS autonomous multi role fighter support drone could do with a built-in (fuselage) 25 MM GAU-12/U 6-barrel rotary internal gun as in multi role fighter jets . . . the internal gun in the Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS autonomous multi role fighter support drone (as in conventional multi role fighter jets) will function (unlike jets) autonomously based on AI derived Buddy Intercept Target Vectoring Concept designated by the flight lead . . .

  47. Supermatt on September 19, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Iran has had stealth attack drones for several years now so dont see how this is a big deal for an advanced country like the US. We should be 2 steps ahead of our enemies not 2 steps behind.

  48. STA50 on September 19, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    Okay who tf let Boeing play Ace Combat, seriously sure hope theyd test out sending a former ace pilots data to the drones nothing bad will go wrong…

  49. Charlie on September 19, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    think about it this way…

    to our creator we are artificial intelligence….
    to us these things are artificial intelligence….

    and we are not actually all good are we?… so how do we expect them to be good…

  50. Funnyman on September 19, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    Arsenal bird when

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