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Official rendering shows Ghost Bat ‘loyal wingman' landing aboard Queen Elizabeth-class carrier

A low-resolution artist's impression of a Ghost Bat unmanned aircraft landing aboard a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, as it appeared in a briefing slide being presented under the Chatham House Rule. Boeing, which designed the Ghost Bat, confirmed it is an official image but declined to release a high-resolution copy. (Boeing via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

An official rendering shown for the first time at an event on 21 February depicts a Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat ‘loyal wingman' landing aboard a UK Royal Navy (RN) Queen Elizabeth (QE)-class aircraft carrier.

Revealed by an official who was presenting under the Chatham House Rule, the computer-generated image shows the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being recovered by means of an arrester hook, and gear not currently fitted to the carrier. While Boeing confirmed to Janes that the image is official, it declined to release a high-resolution version of it.

In his presentation, the official referred to UAVs, or autonomous collaborative platforms (ACPs), as a means to provide a medium-term capability geared at increasing the aircraft carriers' combat mass as they operate alongside and in conjunction with the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). “The ACP in the fixed-wing environment is how we intend to augment our fifth-generation F-35, of which we have a finite amount, in a war fight that will be about precision-strike apparatus and the necessity to protect the core [carriers],” he said.

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