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Boeing's pilotless, fighter-like jet, called the "Loyal Wingman." Photo: Boeing

Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced Tuesday local time that they've completed the first test flight of a pilotless fighter-like jet devised to operate alongside crewed aircraft.

Why it matters: The "Loyal Wingman" combat drone is serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the company's global defense customers. It has the potential to "revolutionize the RAAF's air combat tactics playbook," per The Drive.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: A Boeing test pilot was monitoring from a ground control station in South Australia's outback during the autonomous plane's flight, according to a joint statement from Boeing and the RAAF.

  • The Australian government has invested US$31 million in the product, which Boeing said previously has drawn interest from countries including the U.S., Reuters notes.
  • It's the first military plane designed and made in Australia in over 50 years.

What they're saying: Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF head of Air Force Capability, said in a statement, "The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams."

Flashback: Boeing's pilotless vehicle flies for first time

Go deeper

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.

The new cold war panic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The world has seen a power struggle between nuclear powers before, and has seen those countries inch closer to military conflict. But it's never before seen a cold war between two countries as interconnected — with each other and with the rest of the globe — as the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Escalating antagonism between the world's two superpowers is likely to hinder global cooperation to fight climate change, divert resources to costly arms and tech races, complicate diplomacy for U.S. allies, and victimize Chinese and American citizens living in each other's countries.