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Airbus to unveil its Wingman concept at ILA Berlin 2024

Airbus will debut its Wingman concept at the International Aerospace Exhibition ILA in Berlin, which will take place from June 5 to 9, 2024.

This concept reimagines the traditional role of a “Wingman” in military aviation. Traditionally, a Wingman is a supporting pilot in a separate aircraft who aids the flight lead by providing additional tactical options.

The Wingman, presented by Airbus, is a drone controlled remotely by a pilot in a combat aircraft. It is designed to undertake high-risk missions while minimizing danger to human pilots.

The idea of keeping pilots and their pricey machines away from the action by relying on attritable drones is central to the 6th generation of fighter jets being developed. 

Proposed concepts bet on the evolution of artificial intelligence to multiply air combat mass by leveraging expendable, autonomous systems with fighter-like capabilities, commonly referred to as “loyal wingmen.”

For the Future Combat Air system program developed by France, Germany, and Spain, these combat drones are known as Remote Carriers.

Within the FCAS’s pillar 3, the Remote Carriers are categorized as Recoverable Remote Carriers (RRC) developed by Airbus, and Expendable Remote Carriers (ERC) under the leadership of MBDA. Both concepts intend to bridge the gap between traditional aircraft and unmanned systems and increase the operational potential for fighters, ships, and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

However, Airbus expects its Wingman to become operational before the ‘system of systems’ known as the Future Combat Air System or FCAS, which it is conjointly developing with Dassault and other European manufacturers. Thus, it would first collaborate with and support the Eurofighter Typhoon.

“The German Air Force has expressed a clear need for an unmanned aircraft flying with and supporting missions of its manned fighter jets before the Future Combat Air System will be operational in 2040,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, in a press release. “Our Wingman concept is the answer. We will further drive and fine-tune this innovation made in Germany so that ultimately we can offer the German Air Force an affordable solution with the performance it needs to maximise the effects and multiply the power of its fighter fleet for the 2030s.”

According to Airbus, the Wingman concept demonstrates potential capabilities such as stealth, integration of various weapons, advanced sensors, and connectivity for coordinated missions.

The post Airbus to unveil its Wingman concept at ILA Berlin 2024 appeared first on AeroTime.

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