$58.6 million in grants for nine projects under the defence industry priority for the Modern Manufacturing Initiative have been announced which will further support Boeing Australia’s manufacture of its MQ-28A Ghost Bat autonomous jet aircraft, formerly known as Loyal Wingman.
Campaigning in Queensland the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that $34 million under the initiative’s Collaboration Stream would go to the Advanced Defence Aerospace Manufacturing Network.
Led by Boeing Australia, a total of 10 companies are involved in the network including Ferra Engineering, HeliMods, Naeco, RUAG Australia, Cablex, AME Systems and JRS Manufacturing Group.
The manufacture of the jet at in Queensland has already been announced in October, supported by federal grants and a partnership with the state government.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said then the state had entered a partnership with Boeing to assemble the MQ-28A Ghost Bat in Toowoomba – the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
She did not detail the level of state support for the project.
Industry minister Angus Taylor said: “We’re backing our strengths in defence – …that’s why we’re investing in this and a number of other projects today to continue to strengthen manufacturing.
“This investment will build capacity and enable us to be producing…uncrewed aircraft, as you say, in 2024-25 in an extremely short period of time.”
The remaining $24.6 million announced under for companies the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Translation Stream were:
- $8 million for Hypersonix Launch Systems manufacture a hypersonic target drone
- $4.3 million for DefendTex Research Labs to manufacture guided warheads for unmanned aircraft, missiles and small arms systems
- $3 million for ANCA for manufacturing cells for precise CNC grinding for larger defence components
- $2.1 million for Sentient Vision Systems to manufacture ViDAR pods
- $2 million for Thomas Global Systems to manufacture next-generation avionics and high integrity defence electronics
- $1.8 million for Craig International Ballistics for an automated high pressure composite panel manufacturing line for complex anti-ballistic products
- $1.7 million for Marand Precision Engineering for a welding centre for military platforms using high-grade ballistic steels
- And $1.4 million for Extel Technologies to onshore manufacture of electronics sub-assemblies.
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