Australia injects additional $399M into MQ-28A Ghost Bat development project

Image credit: Australian Defence

Over 350 new highly skilled jobs are expected to be created in Australia’s defence industry following the recent allocation of $399 million in federal funding for the MQ-28A Ghost Bat development. 

Designed in partnership with Boeing Defence Australia, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat is a collaborative combat aircraft (CCA) that will serve as a loyal wingman to protect and support Australia’s military assets and pilots. 

The MQ-28A will be Australia’s first military combat aircraft designed, engineered, and manufactured locally in over 50 years. 

The aircraft will be used in various activities and combat roles while covering large distances. 

The development project is now moving forward to the next stage, which includes the delivery of three Block 2 aircraft equipped with enhanced design and improvement capabilities. 

The latest $399 million funding is expected to drive innovation in Australia’s local defence industry, delivering hundreds of new jobs to the sector and ensuring ongoing work for over 200 suppliers. 

“More than 200 Australian companies have already contributed to the MQ-28A program, 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,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy

“The prosperity and security of our nation and will always be a top priority for the Albanese Government. That’s why giving our Air Force the critical capabilities it needs to protect Australians, and their interests, is paramount.”

The development of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat is aligned with a Defence Strategic Review recommendation calling for the development of options for collaboration and technology sharing with the United States. 

Australian Defence recently signed a CCA development project arrangement with the United States on 30 March 2023. 

More than 70 per cent of the CCA delivery program is being directed towards Australian industry content, delivering substantial benefits to local companies and their highly skilled workforces.