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Boeing to Open MQ-28 Drone Factory in Australia

Boeing will construct a new facility in Australia to support the country’s MQ-28 Ghost Bat unmanned aerial system production.

The company plans to establish the center at the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct in Toowoomba, Queensland, where it is set to operate over the next three years.

Boeing wrote that this project will employ additional aerospace technologies and skillsets in the region, specifically in the field of robotics and advanced composites manufacturing.

Work for the 9,000-square meter (97,000-foot) facility will incorporate “sustainable” development approaches, human-centric design, and renewable solutions.

Once completed, the hub will lead the advanced major component development, carbon fiber composite production, final assembly, and evaluation processes for Canberra’s MQ-28 program.

“Boeing Australia is investing to bring this innovative, uncrewed capability to market in the timeframe that supports our customers’ future needs,” Boeing Defence Australia Managing Director Amy List stated.

“The MQ-28 is designed to transform air combat and provide affordable mass for Australia and our allies.”

“We’re partnering with the Queensland Government and Wagner Corporation to build Boeing’s first final assembly facility outside of North America – which is indicative of our global focus and a continued commitment to a sustainable and robust Australian aerospace industry.”

MQ-28A Ghost Bat
The MQ-28A Ghost Bat could reportedly serve as a testbed for the Collaborative Combat Aircraft program. Photo: Australia Department of Defence

The construction project’s announcement follows Canberra’s additional funding for its MQ-28 drone initiative last month to advance associated works and acquire three more systems for the Royal Australian Air Force.

The country purchased seven Ghost Bats in 2022 and another six in 2021.

Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct

According to the Australian government, the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct is planned “to become the global epicenter of aerospace and defense development,” adding to the area’s already existing strategic location for international and domestic transportation.

Alongside Boeing, the country is collaborating with the local industry to integrate technological solutions into the site that will assist other federal programs in addition to national defense efforts.

The MQ-28

Boeing’s artificial intelligence-enabled MQ-28 was built to become a “force multiplier” for existing military aircraft such as the EA-18G Growler, F-35A, and F/A-18F Super Hornet in combat and surveillance missions.

MQ-28 has a length of 11.7 meters (38 feet) and is powered by a turbofan engine for a range of over 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 kilometers/2,300 miles).

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