US and Australia will collaborate with Japan to develop military drones

Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat at the 2023 Avalon Airshow. Credit: HoHo3143 / Wikimedia Commons

The United States (US) and Australia have announced plans to collaborate with Japan on the development of next-generation military drones.  

The joint decision, announced by US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a statement on October 25, 2023, is meant to “enhance interoperability and accelerate technology transfer in the rapidly emerging field of Unmanned Aerial Systems [UAS].” 

The Indo-Pacific region stands at the core of this alliance, with both nations pledging their commitment to maintaining peace, stability, and prosperity in the region amid escalating military assertiveness from China. 

The announcement follows previous autonomous systems collaboration between the US and Japan in December 2022 and is in line with Australia’s Loyal Wingman project, which aims to develop autonomous drones like the MQ-28A Ghost Bat to support combat aircraft. 

Zach Cooper, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, emphasized the necessity of allied collaboration.  

“At the end of the day, the Chinese have so much capacity that the only way for us to compete with them effectively is to work as allies to maximize not just American capacity, but allied capacity,” he told Nikkei Asia

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