By Jamie Freed
AVALON, Australia (Reuters) -Boeing Co’s MQ-28 Ghost Bat fighter-like drone developed in Australia could fit the U.S. Air Force’s requirements for a collaborative combat aircraft (CCA), the company’s defence division head said on Tuesday.
“We’re developing the MQ-28 to fit into a set of requirements that fit into that category of CCA and hopefully there is an intersection there,” Boeing Defense, Space and Security Chief Executive Ted Colbert said on the sidelines of the Australia International Airshow.
Boeing is developing the MQ-28 in Australia alongside the Royal Australian Air Force, in what is the country’s first homegrown combat aircraft to be manufactured in more than 50 years.
Colbert said there was “a lot of interest” in the MQ-28 from around the world.
It is designed to team with crewed fighter jets, which he said could include the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35, to be a “loyal wingman” and a low-cost force multiplier.
The MQ-28, which made its first flight in 2021, was on public display at the air show.
The drone is 38 feet long (11.6 metres), has a 2,000 nautical mile (3,704 km) range and can be outfitted with various payloads. The plane can also carry weapons and help protect crewed fighter jets.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed and Renju Jose; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)