• Credit: Defence
    Credit: Defence

The government has allocated an additional $399 million for the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, with the funding focused on developing sensor and mission payloads, an integrated combat system, and autonomous systems.

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat, known as a Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA), is being developed in cooperation with Boeing Defence Australia. It is the first military combat aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

“The new MQ-28 Head Agreement continues our partnership with the Commonwealth of Australia, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australian industry in developing this important Collaborative Combat Aircraft capability for Australia,” said Scott Carpendale, Vice President and Managing Director of Boeing Defence Australia.

“Since achieving concept development to first flight in three years, we have significantly progressed the design engineering, manufacture and flight testing of MQ-28 Ghost Bat, and are applying those learnings back into our Australian production system to advance the capability.”

“The latest agreement enables us to continue the developmental pathway of MQ-28 to prove the MQ-28 systems, including validating the mission system, payloads and operational requirements, which includes producing three Block 2 aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force.”

The additional funding will secure over 350 jobs across Australia and ensure ongoing work for over 200 suppliers, supporting the local defence industry. 

"This is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years and underscores the depth of innovation and expertise in our defence industry," said Pat Conroy, Minister for Defence Industry.

"More than 200 Australian companies have already contributed to the MQ-28A program, including more than 50 small and medium enterprises within the supply chain. This project demonstrates that with the appropriate support from government, Australia’s defence industry can continue to be a world leader and a key source of jobs."

The further development of MQ-28A Ghost Bat comes after the Government agreed with a Defence Strategic Review recommendation that options be developed for collaboration and technology sharing with the United States. In line with the Government’s response, Defence signed a CCA development project arrangement with the United States on 30 March 2023.

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