Australia orders 7 additional MQ-28A Ghost Bat loyal wingman UCAVs


The MQ-28A Ghost Bat. Photo c/o Mick Tsikas / AAP

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is scheduled to receive seven additional MQ-28A Ghost Bat “loyal wingman” unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

This is after the Australian Government has stepped-up its investment in the Loyal Wingman Program, investing an additional A$454 million (US$317 million) to support the joint venture between the RAAF and Boeing Defence Australia.

This will bring a total of 13 new MQ-28A Ghost Bats ordered for the RAAF, with the first one expected to be delivered to the RAAF by 2024.

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat is expected to bolster the RAAF’s air combat capability with the addition of uncrewed autonomous systems that team with existing air combat aircraft and conduct air combat, reconnaissance, and surveillance missions.

The Loyal Wingman Program between the RAAF and Boeing Defence Australia started in 2017 with an initial investment of more than A$150 million for six new MQ-28A Ghost Bat UCAVs, and is the first Australian designed and manufactured military combat aircraft in the last 50 years.

Components of the aircraft will be manufactured around Australia, with 70% of the components to be locally sourced from more than 80 companies, and will help generate significant job opportunities locally especially in the production facility in Toowoomba, Queensland.

The first MQ-28A prototype first took flight on February 2021, just two years and three months since the project started, while a second aircraft has joined the flight test program, and a third one being readied for flight testing later in 2022.

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton MP said that the Loyal Wingman Program could offer potential benefits also for allies and partners in the region and around the world.

““By sharing technology and leveraging the expertise of our US partners, the MQ-28A aircraft will be interoperable with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region ensuring that our combined air combat forces are enhanced and stand ready to defend Australia and its national interests.”

Australia Liberal Party
[2] Shephard Media
[3] Australian Defence Magazine

Australia orders 7 additional MQ-28A Ghost Bat loyal wingman UCAVs Australia orders 7 additional MQ-28A Ghost Bat loyal wingman UCAVs Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on May 19, 2022 Rating: 5

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