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Australia Injects AUD399 Million into MQ-28A Ghost Bat Program

Australia has announced a substantial investment of AUD399 million (USD259.5 million) to advance the development of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program. This funding is designated to enhance key systems and facilitate the production of three next-generation Block 2 aircraft with upgraded capabilities.

Pat Conroy, the Australian Minister for Defence Industry, disclosed on February 9 that the additional funding will support the production of three MQ-28A Block 2 aircraft, featuring an improved design. The collaborative effort with Boeing Defence Australia has already seen Boeing contracted to manufacture 10 MQ-28A Block 1 CCAs for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). As of February 10, eight MQ-28A aircraft have been produced, and the three Block 2 aircraft are scheduled for delivery in late 2025, coinciding with a focused capability demonstration.

Source: The MQ-28A Ghost Bat - ADF

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat, conceived as a Collaborative Combat Aircraft, functions as a 'loyal wingman' to crewed aircraft, extending their capabilities by engaging in reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and serving as decoys to divert enemy fire. Additionally, it is equipped to carry weapons and participate in aerial combat operations.

The allocated funds will contribute to the development of sensor and mission payloads, an integrated combat system, and autonomous functionalities for the MQ-28A program. The Block 2 variant is anticipated to feature state-of-the-art sensors and enhanced mission capabilities, reinforcing its role as a valuable asset to the RAAF.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy emphasized the importance of supporting critical capabilities for the Air Force, stating, "The prosperity and security of our nation will always be a top priority for the Albanese government." He highlighted the significance of providing the RAAF with the necessary tools to safeguard Australians and their interests.

Initiated in 2013, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat program achieved its maiden flight in February 2021. This program marks a significant milestone for Australia, representing the first military aircraft designed, engineered, and manufactured in the country in over 50 years, achieved through collaboration with Boeing.

The additional funding not only ensures the progression of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat program but also bolsters the Australian defense industry by creating more than 350 jobs across the country and involving over 200 suppliers. This investment underscores Australia's commitment to innovation and expertise within its defense industry, positioning the country as a global leader in autonomous drone technology.

Source: The MQ-28A Ghost Bat - ADF

As Australia continues to enhance its defense capabilities, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat serves as a symbol of technological advancement and strategic collaboration, reinforcing the nation's dedication to ensuring the security and prosperity of its citizens.


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