"The drone was developed in connection with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group. Boeing further partnered with other defense firms such as BAE Systems Australia, Ferra Engineering, RUAG Australia, Micro Electronic Technologies, AME Systems, and Allied Data System, for the ATS development program.
“The partnership will produce a concept demonstrator of a low cost unmanned ‘Loyal Wingman’ aircraft, capable of operating in concert with Air Force’s fifth generation air combat capability,” Minister Pyne said in a statement.
“There is significant value investing in innovative, future leaning initiatives like this, particularly in the early conceptual stages where Defence can explore concept s and define the role such capabilities can play in our national security framework.”
The first version of the ATS will employ electronic warfare sensors. Boeing said future versions of the drone would incorporate various types of advanced weaponry." Mister Pyne
I would suppose that USAF is not supportive of this development. USAF, for all its blather about "the future," is a club for pilots, a club in which they are paid to do what they most want to do in life. This flying automated beast is a vision of the real future, a future in which pilots are people who fly the airplanes from seats in air conditioned rooms that can be thousands of miles from the action. Or perhaps they have very little role at all because the airplanes will fly themselves. In a 5G world, the various airplanes will be talking to each other yet further reducing the need for wild blue yonder flights of fancy. "Reached up and touched the face of God," etc.
Australia, OTOH, has a much smaller and less powerful aviator club and finds the idea of reduced pilot training and maintenance programs attractive. After all, UAVs do not have survivor families. Nor do they have downstream financial costs like retired pay and medical benefits. pl