The Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) uncrewed combat aircraft being developed for the Royal Australian Air Force’s Project DEF 6114 Loyal Wingman program has officially been given the designation and name, MQ-28A Ghost Bat.
Announced at RAAF Amberley on 21 March, the ‘M’ and ‘Q’ prefixes denote the ATS’s multi-mission capabilities and the fact it is uncrewed respectively, while ‘28’ is the next number available in the uncrewed aircraft designation series used by US, NATO, and allied nations. Boeing will retain the ATS name for its global marketing purposes, while the RAAF will phase out the Loyal Wingman name.
“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, Boeing’s 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.”
President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific, Dr Brendan Nelson added, “Our enduring partnership with Commonwealth of Australia and ADF is fundamental to the successful development of MQ-28A’s complex technologies and capabilities, and has global export potential for Australia.”
Following a successful first flight and flight envelope expansion in 2021, the ATS’s rapid development will continue in 2022, with the test program focussed on sensor and missionisation capabilities.