Boeing plans to build drones near Toowoomba

Boeing plans to build Loyal Wingman drones at Wellcamp near Toowoomba, creating hundreds of jobs

The Loyal Wingman has been developed in Australia and is expected to be produced near Toowoomba.

Boeing has announced it plans to build an unmanned military aircraft manufacturing facility near Toowoomba that, with 70% local contact, is likely to create more than 300 jobs across the Western Corridor. It would also create more than 70 operational jobs.

Key points:

  • Boeing’s uncrewed Loyal Wingman planes to be built at Wellcamp airport, west of Brisbane
  • The project would create hundreds of jobs
  • It’s the first time Boeing would set up a facility of this scale outside of the US.
  • There is also strong interest from other countries.

The site at the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct would be the final assembly point for the Loyal Wingman planes.

The combat aircraft with artificial intelligence is designed to operate as a team to extend the capabilities of other crewed and uncrewed planes.

It made its first flight in February 2021 and was the first of its kind designed, developed and manufactured in Australia in half a century.

The Loyal Wingman had its first flight in February 2021.

Boeing Australia said they were still working with the Queensland government and the Wagner Corporation, which owns the Wellcamp site, about how much the project would cost.

Plans are underway to have it built in the “middle of the decade”.

Boeing has been working with the federal government, through the design test certification phase, obviously very confident to move into production phase.

To support that a production facility is needed in the middle of this decade and so that’s the timing that the project is working towards.

Boeing’s Loyal Wingman military drone.

It is the first time Boeing would set up a facility of this scale outside of North America.

Queensland hopes to become a leader in the aerospace industry.

The initial estimate is a billion dollars in economic benefit to Queensland over the next 10 years.

Queensland has a 10-year plan to grow the aerospace and aviation industry. To construct this facility in Queensland is attractive to all three levels of government.

Wagner Group chairman John Wagner said the project would create a “multi-generational” legacy for Toowoomba. The vision for this precinct is to be the epicentre of aerospace and defence development, advanced manufacturing, globally, research and development and education.

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