The Australian Government and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have selected Boeing Australia’s MQ-28A Ghost Bat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as the military designator and name for the first Australian-produced military combat aircraft in over 50 years.
The designator and name was announced by Australia’s Defense Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, at a dedicated ceremony held at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland.
“The introduction of the new popular name is a rare and special moment in aviation history for our RAAF partners and industry team of over 35 Australian suppliers,” said Glen Ferguson, director Airpower Teaming System Australia and International. “Selecting the Ghost Bat, an Australian native mammal known for teaming together in a pack to detect and hunt, reflects the unique characteristics of the aircraft’s sensors and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance abilities, and is a fitting name for this pioneering capability.”
With a rapid development timetable of just three years from ideation to first flight, the development program leverages advancements in digital engineering, advanced manufacturing and unique Australian supply chain technologies.
While the RAAF Loyal Wingman development program name will phase out, Boeing’s product name for global customers will remain the Airpower Teaming System.
“Our enduring partnership with Commonwealth of Australia and Australian Defence Force (ADF) is fundamental to the successful development of MQ-28A’s complex technologies and capabilities, and has global export potential for Australia,” said Dr Brendan Nelson AO, president Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.
During 2022, the program will continue to accelerate the development and testing of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, with a focus on sensor and missionization capabilities to deliver on RAAF commitments. These requirements will continue to expand as Boeing moves towards the aim of delivering an operational capability for the ADF.