12 February 2024
An additional $399 million has been allocated for the development of Air Force's MQ-28A Ghost Bat uncrewed aircraft.
The Ghost Bat program has moved to its next stage, including delivery of three Block 2 aircraft with enhanced design and improved capabilities.
In announcing the funding in Canberra on February 9, Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said it will enable a focus on developing sensor and mission payloads, an integrated combat system and autonomous systems.
“But the majority of the funding will go into developing the unique Australian technology that allows the Ghost Bats to work together with each other and with crewed aircraft as one team to achieve their mission,” Mr Conroy said.
Ghost Bat is the first combat aircraft in more than 50 years to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia.
“We also have an agreement with the United States to share this technology and turbo-charge its development,” Mr Conroy said.
He said more than 200 Australian companies had contributed to the Ghost Bat program, demonstrating that, with government support, Australia’s defence industry could continue to be a world leader.
“The prosperity and security of our nation will always be a top priority for the Government,” Mr Conroy said.
"That’s why giving our Air Force the critical capabilities it needs to protect Australians and their interests is paramount.”