Boeing‘s MQ-28 venture in Queensland signals a leap in aerospace technology and manufacturing in Australia, which will benefit the region’s economy and defence capabilities.

Boeing has initiated the construction of the production facility in Toowoomba, Queensland, to spearhead manufacturing the MQ-28 Ghost Bat – an addition to the nation’s military arsenal.

The unmanned platform is designed to fly independently or alongside military aircraft. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Boeing Australia presented the first locally built unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft in 2020. In 2022, the Australian Government officially named the first domestically produced uncrewed combat aircraft the ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat. ‘

The facility, which spans 9,000 square meters within the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence precinct, represents an investment by Boeing in Australia’s defence infrastructure. With plans for operational readiness within the next three years, the project aims to introduce aerospace technologies and skillsets to Queensland.

Australia recently allocated $400m (A$616) to the MQ-28A Ghost Bat programme, securing hundreds of skilled jobs.

Amy List, managing director of Boeing Defence Australia, emphasised the importance of the MQ-28 programme, stating, “Boeing Australia is investing to bring this innovative, uncrewed capability to market in the timeframe that supports our customers’ future needs. “The MQ-28 is designed to transform air combat and provide affordable mass for Australia and our allies.”

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Moreover, Boeing’s partnership with the Queensland Government and Wagner Corporation highlights a collaborative effort to establish a sustainable aerospace ecosystem. By leveraging Wagner Corporation’s knowledge of sustainable construction methods, the project aims to incorporate renewable technologies and human-centric design principles.

The MQ-28 production facility is poised to be equipped with manufacturing capabilities such as carbon fibre composites and robotic assembly systems. This endeavour positions the country as a global player in aerospace production.