The federal government has pushed forward with plans to develop and field the MQ-28A Ghost Bat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is seen as a companion for manned Royal Australian Air Force planes.
The government said it has secured hundreds of highly skilled jobs while driving industry innovation with the allocation of an additional $399 million for the ongoing development of the Ghost Bat, previously known as Loyal Wingman.
The MQ-28A Ghost Bat, known formally as a Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA), is being developed in cooperation with Boeing Defence Australia.
The Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “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.
“More than 200 Australian companies have already contributed to the MQ-28A programme, 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.”
More than 70 per cent of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat delivery programme is being directed towards Australian industry content
An entirely new technology, the Ghost Bat is designed to perform a number of roles from surveillance to combat roles.
The government is now moving forward with the next stage of the programme, including delivery of three Block 2 aircraft which have an enhanced design and improved capabilities.
This funding boost will enable a focus on developing sensor and mission payloads, an integrated combat system and autonomous systems, according to a statement.
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.
Browse @AuManufacturing’s coverage of the Ghost Bat here.