Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat in United States for testing
The MQ-28 Ghost Bat prototype aircraft in flight over Woomera, South Australia. (Australian Department of Defence)
The Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat, which has been flying in Australia since 2021, is in the US for testing. The aircraft was displayed to reporters at Mid-America Airport outside St Louis, Missouri.
Boeing declined to disclose the nature of testing, but Krystle Carr, Boeing's director of autonomous collaborative platforms, said that testing would include internally funded Boeing testing and hinted at but declined to confirm other testing.
“We got it here in partnership with the [Royal Australian Air Force],” said Carr. “It is here to do a number of different sets of testing, we can't really go into the details of those right now. But it's a great opportunity for everyone to learn what a platform of this kind of capability can do and how we can partner together to advance that. And a lot of that is because the programme itself is still evolving.”
Public testing on the Ghost Bat has thus far taken place in Australia, although defence media outlets reported in October 2022 that the US Air Force (USAF) intended to take delivery of one for Collaborative Combat Aircraft-related testing. Carr declined to say when or how the MQ-28 shown to media arrived in the US, whether more than one Ghost Bats are in the US, or whether more are expected to arrive.
Carr declined to say how many MQ-28s exist but confirmed that the assembly line remains open. The Royal Australian Air Force has announced it would produce six aircraft.