Boeing
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Boeing to Build Drone Plant in Australia

Sept. 23, 2021
The manufacturer’s first assembly operation outside of North America will produce the Boeing Airpower Teaming System drone aircraft, developed together with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Boeing will build its first aircraft assembly plant outside of North America at the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. The plant, adjacent to the Wellcamp Airport, will produce and assemble the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (BATS), an unmanned aerial vehicle with stealth capabilities developed by Boeing Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force as a companion to manned aircraft, to provide support and perform autonomous missions independently using artificial intelligence.

The plan is similar to a recent commitment by Boeing Defense to build a different UAV assembly plant in Southern Illinois for the MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based drones, for U.S. Navy fighter jet support.

The BATS (also called the Loyal Wingman) made its first flight in February 2021. Boeing Australia and the RAAF are developing six test aircraft in all, though no commercial orders have been recorded.

Boeing Australia is in partnership with the Queensland Government to establish the new plant, though neither the cost nor the construction schedule have been announced.

Another member of the partnership, Wagner Corporation, has said the new plant will support approximately 300 construction jobs, with other high-skill positions required in the operational stage.

“In choosing Wellcamp Airport, Boeing have taken an important step towards delivering their purpose-built final assembly facility. This has the potential to greatly improve our state’s advanced manufacturing capability and help shape a workforce of Queenslanders with the skills to build some of the world’s most cutting-edge aircraft,” stated Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

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