At the Australia International Airshow in Melbourne, Boeing Australia announced its plan to produce an unmanned drone jet with an onboard AI. This will enable the drone to fly independently and support other manned vehicles from a safe distance.

Initial designs of the drone show a length of 38 feet, with a capability of flying 2,000 miles (3,200 km) before refueling. While the drone has yet to have an official name or designation, it’s at the center of a project dubbed the “Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program”; the drone is designed to provide fighter pilots with the ability to engage in electronic warfare, conduct intelligence-gathering, recon and surveillance functions and quickly switch between these roles in real-time.

While the AI of this planned drone will only be capable of independent flight and “linear” learning, the speed at which it will performs its functions will be vastly superior to that of any human pilot, and when used as a “wingman” by other pilots, their combined capabilities will offer a considerable force multiplier.

A functioning prototype of Boeing Australia’s drone is still in the works, but they did reveal images and videos in a presentation at the Australia International Airshow on Wednesday (Edition.CNN.com/2019/02/26/australia/australia-artificial-intelligence-boeing-drone/index.html).

Boeing representatives revealed the company will build the drone in its Australian facilities, then export it to “friendly” countries as soon as production goes on full swing. This is in line with Australia’s decade-long plan to become a major defense industry supplier, dubbed Canberra’s Defense Export Strategy.

These advanced drones are also part of Australia’s modernization plan, which sees the drone go into full production after its maiden flight is completed sometime in 2020.

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