The Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) has officially received the Australian designation MQ-28A Ghost Bat.

The official name was announced at a dedicated ceremony held at the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley, Queensland on March 21, 2022.

‘Ghost Bat’ was first unveiled to the world in May 2020. It is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

The aircraft’s project name was ‘Loyal Wingman’ as it used AI to help both manned and unmanned aircraft mid-air.

After a number of high-speed taxi tests, the ‘Loyal Wingman’ took its maiden flight in March of 2021 and, in September 2021, Boeing selected Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport (WTB) in South Australia as the location for the production facility of project ‘Loyal Wingman'. The aircraft was put on display in November 2021 for the Dubai Airshow. 

“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,” Glen Ferguson, Boeing director for Airpower Teaming System Australia and International , said in a statement.

With a timetable of just three years from ideation to first flight, the development program leverages advancements in digital engineering, advanced manufacturing and unique Australian supply chain technologies, Boeing said in a release. 

Boeing also said that while the RAAF Loyal Wingman development program name will phase out, Boeing’s product name for global customers will remain the Airpower Teaming System.

“Our enduring partnership with Commonwealth of Australia and Australian Defence Force (ADF) is fundamental to the successful development of MQ-28A’s complex technologies and capabilities, and has global export potential for Australia,” said Dr Brendan Nelson AO, president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

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The Loyal Wingman drone developed by Boeing for the Royal Australian Air Force made its maiden flight.