Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) - MQ-28A Ghost Bat

X-39

Armchair Engineer
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
128
Reaction score
201
Seeing echoes of NGAD and B-21's seemingly untroubled development with the aid of digital engineering here:

Aussies aim for $1B in exports of Loyal Wingman, now ‘Ghost Bat’​


“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 of Boeing said.​


By Colin Clark on March 23, 2022 at 4:16 PM
RAAF AIR BASE AMBERLEY: Australia, clearly thrilled by its apparent success in designing and building a new aircraft for the first time in 50 years, is eagerly aiming for substantial export sales of the Loyal Wingman drone system.[...]

[...]So far, Boeing and the RAAF have built six MQ-28 Ghost Bats, as it’s formally designated. While some have flown, the fleet is now undergoing extensive ground testing.
“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, who heads the program for Boeing, said at the Monday morning ceremony here.


With the Australian federal budget due next Tuesday, Breaking Defense asked Dutton how many Ghost Bats the government planned to fund. He did not give a direct answer, saying only that ”There is a great utility in having scale and being able to launch an aircraft like this, because it complements what we’re doing with our fast jets and our other assets on water on land.”


That would seem to indicate Australia may well be looking at producing dozens of the Ghost Bat in the next five years, especially if they want to maximize scale as they begin to make foreign sales.
[...]

[...]The aircraft uses an open architecture to facilitate integration. While the aircraft can work with sensors and systems from a wide range of countries, it also incorporates components from a number of countries, so Boeing will have to comply with relevant export controls when it’s approached by a customer, Ferguson said.[...]

[...]One of the intriguing things about the drone program is that it is moving at such speed — from nothing to flight and ground testing in three years — that it’s not even clear if there will be any conventional acquisition milestones, such as full production. Instead, after years and years of discussions in Washington and elsewhere about spiral acquisition and upgrades as they path forward for faster acquisition, the Loyal Wingman program appears to actually be doing it effectively. Ferguson said they expect to do unsubstantial upgrades every two years “to get to a next generation of airframes.”


Overall, the Boeing executive said the Australian government’s commitment to the Ghost Bat program “has been unparalleled.” On such a fast-moving program, with the attendant risks, that may be a requirement for it to succeed.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
4,504
Reaction score
3,570
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Actually, they could also have just stayed with "Loyal Wingman". I know it has become somewhat of a generic term for this class of platform, but why not?
 

aim9xray

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
690
Reaction score
562
Because that name just doesn't inspire the esprit de corps (and terror in the minds of the enemy) as "Droney McDropbear".
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
4,504
Reaction score
3,570
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Because that name just doesn't inspire the esprit de corps (and terror in the minds of the enemy) as "Droney McDropbear".
Well of course if you introduce DropBears to the equation that changes everything...

611b9432db73ae892086de2b4243f185--computer-art-sci-fi-art.jpg
 

AeroFranz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 4, 2008
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
500
Being a Boeing product it probably had to have a "Ghost" or "Phantom" in it.
Personally i found it interesting as long as they were doing the old McDonnell thing of going through spooky creatures (Voodoo, Banshee, Phantom, Goblin, Demon, etc.), but just adding the "Phantom" or "Ghost" prefix to everything sounds stupid ("Phantom Eye" anyone?)
 

DrRansom

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Dec 15, 2012
Messages
558
Reaction score
45
So - what changed that Boeing can clean-sheet a drone from concept to flight in 3 years, but only in Australia?

Meanwhile, the Loyal-Wingman program in the US is stuck with a retrofitted target drone that needs rocket-assisted takeoff.

It is as if some step-change was made in design and manufacturing ability, without any fanfare?
 

AeroFranz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 4, 2008
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
500
Good question. The obvious buzzword is 'digital thread', but TBH who knows how much this shaves. It could be that the conceptual studies were begun before three years ago, also saving some time. Or perhaps the vehicle is just comparatively simple?
But maybe the Australian team was just very good an had access to the resources they needed. I think often design teams are hampered by issues that are programmatic and not technical.
 

Volkodav

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Messages
532
Reaction score
741
So - what changed that Boeing can clean-sheet a drone from concept to flight in 3 years, but only in Australia?

Meanwhile, the Loyal-Wingman program in the US is stuck with a retrofitted target drone that needs rocket-assisted takeoff.

It is as if some step-change was made in design and manufacturing ability, without any fanfare?
Australia has been big into rapid prototyping and smart manufacturing for years. Much of our mass production of completed items was killed during our political and business obsession with being a quarry and a financial center, but rapid prototyping and agile small batch production has gone from strength to strength.

You don't get economies of scale, but you can produce what is needed, when it is needed, so long as the customer is willing and able to pay.
 

red admiral

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
856
Reaction score
451
There's CGI of it on a carrier so its carrier based? Feels like a generous description.

I wonder if it'll get further off a carrier than the stig.
 

Trident

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
1,392
Reaction score
1,016
The Australian Department of Defense imagery site has several photos of the MQ-28A with IRST.
Which manufacturer is this from?

My guess would be the PIRATE-derived Selex sensor for NG's OpenPod?
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
4,504
Reaction score
3,570
Website
beyondthesprues.com
And as for the name, the following are partially responsible:

20220321raaf8659008_120.t6237f11e.m2400.xA7di4LTXJoapMZc_.jpg


Royal Australian Air Force members Flight Sergeant Stephan Barchard and Corporal David Grieger (left) stand with the MQ-28A Ghost Bat aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, after winning the Airpower Teaming System naming competition.

How often do you see the exact people who came up with a name for an aircraft?
 

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,414
Reaction score
2,325
...
 

Attachments

  • boeing ats US0D0942321.pdf
    213.7 KB · Views: 27

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
2,820
Reaction score
1,700
I do think the 'ute' would be better named 'Shiela' perhaps.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top