Saturday, October 10, 2020


Theatre of War: Smart Team Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2020

Theatre of War: Smart Team is number three of a Theatre of War series. I am not sure how many paintings there will ultimately be! You - and I - will just have to wait to see! 

Theatre of War
Theatre of War: Terrain Visualisation

Loyal Wingman Combat Drones 
In Theatre of War: Smart Team I have painted three Loyal Wingman combat drones and a piloted/manned fighter jet. The Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing have collaborated to develop the Loyal Wingman drone, using Australian and international expertise. The drone is designed as a 'wingman' support for piloted/manned jet aircraft. The first test flights are, apparently, to occur in late 2020. The Loyal Wingman drone has been labelled a 'gamechanger' in military drone technology. Indeed, the weaponisable drone certainly will be equipped with a plethora of advanced capabilities that range from some autonomous systems utilising AI, swarming potential, advanced electronic and electromagnetic warfare technologies, payload flexibility enhanced by interchangeable nose cones and more. This drone represents the first Australian made aircraft for over 50 years.

The Loyal Wingman drone has been developed under Boeing's Airpower Teaming System: A Smart Unmanned Force Multiplier. 

Teams of piloted/manned aircraft and unmanned highly advanced combat drones will soon be deployed into our skies. And, these teams will be smart teams! 

You can read more about Australia's Loyal Wingman drone, plus some information about similar projects in the US and the UK, here at this article Behold Boeing's Loyal Wingman Drone for Australia-as it Rapidly Takes Shape in The Drive: The Warzone. 

Theatre of War: Smart Team 
In Theatre of War: Smart Team the aircraft are linked by painted red lines. These lines indicate signal-enabled teaming capabilities. Like any 'theatre' performance, teamwork is crucial to success. In this painting the red lines forming patterns that appear to dissect the landscape seem to suggest a stage, but is it structurally sound, is it complete, is it real? These red lines mimic terrain visualising technology that would normally be seen as a graphic on a screen. Maybe we, the audience, are actually observing something on a computer screen? Or, maybe the terrain visualisation is for the drones' scopic or geolocating requirements? If we see the painting as a theatre set, the team of aircraft hang like either a prop, or a performing protagonist. The red line stretching beyond the painting's edge can be read as a literal signal connection to a satellite or a ground control station, or it can be read as some kind of string, like a puppet's string. As a metaphor, a puppet's string, conjures some troubling thoughts about who or what is ultimately the theatre's 'director' - who or what is in control. 

Maybe we are not an audience at all, but also protagonists playing a variety of roles in the contemporary theatre of war?


Can you pick the Loyal Wingman drones in Theatre of War and Theatre of War: Terrain Visualisation below?

Theatre of War Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2020

          Theatre of War: Terrain Visualisation Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2020

As always, I could write more, but I will leave it here, for you to ponder.

Here is a link to a previous painting and post called Wingman



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