Boeing's Australian Subsidiary to Establish MQ-28 'Ghost Bat' Drone Production Site in Queensland

Australia recently allocated $260M for three additional MQ-28 drones in Mk 2 configuration
  • bureau
  • 08:22 AM, March 28, 2024
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Boeing's Australian Subsidiary to Establish MQ-28 'Ghost Bat' Drone Production Site in Queensland
MQ-28 'Ghost Bat'

Boeing’s subsidiary in Australia is establishing its first MQ-28 Ghost Bat ‘loyal wingman’ drone production site outside the U.S. in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

Operational by 2027, the 9,000 square meter site is part of the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct near Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

Boeing's planned construction project in Queensland is also part of a larger development plan called the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct, which is being led by Australia's Wagner Corporation. The Precinct, including Boeing's site, will be directly adjacent to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

Australia's $260 million allocation for Ghost Bat development in February includes funding for three additional drones in a Mk 2 (Block 2) configuration. How these drones will differ from the baseline version has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Boeing and Australia began MQ-28 (previously, Airpower Teaming System) collaboration in 2019, with the first flight in 2021. The Royal Australian Air Force aims to acquire 10 MQ-28s by 2025. Boeing has been enhancing the MQ-28's capabilities, including integrating an infrared search and track sensor system. Three Ghost Bat prototypes are known to have been built and flight-tested in Australia for the RAAF to date. As of May 2022, the air force's stated plan was to acquire at least 10 MQ-28s by 2025.

While initially considered for the U.S. Skyborg program, Boeing's Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) commitments prevented MQ-28 participation. However, there are indications of potential U.S. Air Force acquisitions for testing. The MQ-28 also serves as a technological precursor for the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, with Australia's involvement suggesting international collaboration prospects.

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