Australia has injected $400m (A$616) into the MQ-28A Ghost Bat programme, marking a milestone in the nation’s military aerospace capabilities.

This injection of funds secures hundreds of skilled jobs.

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat, developed in collaboration with Boeing Defence Australia, represents an achievement as the first military combat aircraft designed, engineered, and manufactured within Australia in more than five decades. Dubbed as a Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA), the Ghost Bat aims to improve military operations by serving as a loyal wingman, protecting and supporting military assets and pilots across distances while undertaking various combat roles.

In 2021, Australia invested a further injection of $115m into the Boeing Loyal Wingman programme. The Loyal Wingman achieved its first successful flight test within the same year. A year later, the programme was named the MQ-28A Ghost Bat.

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The latest funding boost signifies a milestone in the programme’s progression, facilitating the development of three Block 2 aircraft featuring enhanced designs and improved capabilities. With a focus on advancing sensor and mission payloads and integrating autonomous systems and combat capabilities.

Moreover, the allocation of additional funding ensures the continuity of more than 350 jobs nationwide and provides ongoing opportunities for more than 200 suppliers, thereby fostering growth and sustainability within the local defence industry. Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy, emphasised the importance of this investment, stating: “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.”

The commitment to the MQ-28A Ghost Bat programme aligns with the Australian Government’s dedication to enhancing national security and prosperity. By investing in defence technology, Australia reaffirms its position as a player in the global defence landscape, safeguarding its interests and ensuring the safety of its citizens.

As Australia forges ahead, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat is poised to improve the capabilities of the Australian Defence Force.