MQ-28A Ghost Bat project

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy has allocated an extra $399 million to advance the MQ-28A Ghost Bat program, securing hundreds of Australian defence jobs. This funding confirms progress to the next phase, including the delivery of three upgraded Block 2 aircraft with enhanced features.

The investment will prioritize the development of sensor technology, mission capabilities, and autonomous systems. Minister Conroy applauded the announcement, highlighting the significant contribution of over 200 Australian companies, including 50 SMEs, to the program. He emphasized the importance of government support in maintaining Australia’s leadership in defence technology and job creation.

This funding secures over 350 jobs nationwide and sustains the work of more than 200 suppliers involved in the MQ-28A Ghost Bat project. Minister Conroy reiterated the government’s commitment to national prosperity and security through equipping the Air Force with essential capabilities.

The decision to further develop the MQ-28A Ghost Bat follows a recommendation from the Defence Strategic Review to explore collaboration with the United States. Defence has entered into a Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) development project arrangement with the US, aligning with the government’s response.

Scott Carpendale, Vice President and Managing Director of Boeing Defence Australia, praised the government’s support for the program, emphasizing the partnership’s significance in enhancing Australia’s combat aircraft capabilities.

Over 70% of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat program is directed towards Australian industry content, providing substantial benefits to local companies and their skilled workforce. The agreement allows for the continued development and validation of MQ-28 systems, including the production of three Block 2 aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Boeing’s MQ-28A Ghost Bat, a Collaborative Combat Aircraft, is a joint effort with Boeing Defence Australia and marks Australia’s first military combat aircraft designed, engineered, and manufactured in over 50 years. Originally announced in 2019, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat is designed to offer fighter-like performance and a range of over 2,000 nautical miles, supporting intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance missions, and electronic warfare capabilities.

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