By Jamie Freed
AVALON, Australia (Reuters) -Boeing Co’s MQ-28 Ghost Bat fighter-like drone developed in Australia could meet the US Air Force’s requirements for a collaborative combat aircraft (CCA), the head of the defense division said on Tuesday.
“We are developing the MQ-28 to fit a set of requirements that fit into that category of CCA and hopefully there is a crossroads there,” said Boeing Defense, Space and Security Chief Executive Ted Colbert on the sidelines of the Australia International Air show.
Boeing is co-developing the MQ-28 in Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force, in what is the country’s first homegrown fighter jet to be produced 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 work with manned fighter jets, which he said could include the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35, to be a “loyal wingman” and low-cost force multiplier.
The MQ-28, which made its first flight in 2021, was on display at the air show.
The drone is 38 feet long (11.6 meters), has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704 km), and can be equipped with a variety of payloads. The aircraft can also carry weapons and help protect manned fighter jets.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed and Renju Jose; editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)