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Work begins on Toowoomba Ghost Bat facility

written by Robert Dougherty | March 26, 2024

An artist’s impression of Boeing’s new MQ-28 production facility to be constructed in Toowoomba, Queensland. (Image: Boeing)

Construct work is now underway on the $550m facility at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport where the MQ-28 Ghost Bat will be built.

The aircraft, first unveiled to the world in May 2020, is the first military aircraft designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in over 50 years. It uses AI to help both crewed and uncrewed aircraft in mid-air, hence its previous Australian project name, Loyal Wingman.

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

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

Once complete, the 9000-square-metre facility at the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct will include manufacturing capabilities such as carbon fibre composites manufacture and advanced robotic assembly for major components.


Queensland property and infrastructure company Wagner Corporation will develop and manage the facility’s construction using sustainable construction methods and work with Boeing to incorporate renewable technologies and human-centric design.

The news of Toowoomba’s win comes after Australian Aviation reported last month that the federal government would invest another $400 million into developing Ghost Bat.

Officials said the extra money would be used to fund the next stage of the program, including the delivery of three aircraft that have “enhanced design and improved capabilities”. It will also enable a focus on “developing sensor and mission payloads, an integrated combat system and autonomous systems”.

Boeing has partnered with the RAAF to create Ghost Bat, which measures 11.7 metres long, has a range of 2,000 nautical miles and can deliver fighter-like performance while also offering intelligence capabilities.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said, “More than 200 Australian companies have already contributed to the MQ-28A program, including more than 50 small and medium enterprises within the supply chain.

“This project demonstrates that with the appropriate support from government, Australia’s defence industry can continue to be a world leader and a key source of jobs.”

Defence said the additional funding would secure more than 350 jobs, with more than 70 per cent of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat delivery program being directed towards Australian industry content.

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