Boeing has announced it powered-up the engine of its first Airpower Teaming System (ATS) unmanned aircraft it is developing for the first time in September.
The ATS is being developed by Boeing Australia for the RAAF’s Air Force Minor Program DEF 6014 Phase 1 Loyal Wingman requirement. The engine power-up milestone follows the rollout of the first air vehicle in May 2020, at which Boeing and the RAAF revealed details about the system’s detachable nose payload system.
Images and video released by Boeing appear to show the air vehicle in the western-most of the two engine test bays on the northeastern side of RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
“This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” Boeing ATS program director, Dr Shane Arnott said in a statement. “We’ve been able to select a very light, off-the-shelf jet engine for the unmanned system as a result of the advanced manufacturing technologies applied to the aircraft.”
Boeing hasn’t revealed what engine the ATS uses as it is yet to reveal some of its industry partners on the program, but it is reportedly a fuel-efficient business jet turbofan derivative that is easily supportable and provides about 8,000 lbs of thrust. Photographs of the air vehicle suggest the engine sits deep inside the aircraft’s rear fuselage behind dual S-shaped diverter-less inlet ducts.
A short video of the engine spooling up can be seen here.