RAAF gets seven additional “Ghost Bat” UAVs

RAAF gets seven additional “Ghost Bat” UAVs

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will receive an additional seven MQ-28A “Ghost Bat” loyal wingman drones. The Australian Liberal Party has announced the value of this investment is 316 million USD, adding to the USD 104 million investment that has been implemented in the program since 2017.

Australian Defence Minister Hon Peter Dutton said the seven “Ghost Bats” would enter RAAF service within two years.

Since 2017, the Coalition Government has invested more than 150 million USD in supporting joint efforts between the RAAF and Boeing Defence Australia in this programme.

“In just four years, our partnership with Boeing has successfully designed, produced and flew Australia’s first military fighter aircraft in 50 years. Today, this investment will see the MQ-28A system enter service with the RAAF in 2024-25,” said Dutton.

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat drone, originally named Loyal Wingman, made its first flight in February 2021. A third aircraft is currently being prepared for flight tests in late 2022.

These drones will utilize artificial intelligence to coordinate flights with manned aircraft.

Ghost Bat is designed to be able to perform various missions, including ISR. The drones will also protect manned assets such as the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet and the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft currently in RAAF service.

The MQ-28A has a flying range of over 3,700 km.