Airbus Unveils Unmanned Fighter Concept in ILA2024

Airbus Unveils Unmanned Fighter Concept in ILA2024 Photo Credit Gareth Jenings

Airbus unveiled its unmanned fighter concept ‘Wingman’ during the ILA2024 exhibition held in Germany. Wingman is being designed to escort manned fighters, including Eurofighter Typhoon and future fighters from the FCAS/SCAF programme. However, Airbus states that the main goal is to support the existing platforms. Airbus aims for the 2030s to introduce the Wingman into the service of manned fighters to perform risky parts of the missions and provide support in various ways like remote sensing, electronic warfare, and weapons deployment. The unmanned fighter’s layout consists of low-observable characteristics and a single engine. The aircraft has space for IRST on the nose and an internal weapons bay that might hold two air-to-air missiles with a scale from 15,54 m in length. However, external carriage will also be an option for large munitions. While the 1:1 scale model was a tailless design, Airbus also showed a rendering of the aircraft with external weapons with vertical stabilisers. The reason might be that the configuration hasn’t been decided yet. The U.S., Australia, and Turkiye are developing similar platforms. The U.S. is working on similar multi-role platforms through the CCA programme, while Australia and Turkiye have flown prototypes. Australia’s MQ-28A Ghost Bat and Turkiye’s KIZILELMA are currently being flight-tested.

(Photo Credit Gareth Jenings)