Northrop Grumman has signed an agreement with the Australian government to expand its engagement with local industry on programmes including the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in a contract that was inked during the Avalon airshow.
In June 2018, the Australian government outlined a commitment to procure six MQ-4C Triton UAVs, with all platforms planned to be operational by the mid-2020s.
Australia has already contracted the company to deliver the first of these platforms, as well as related operating bases, and approval to procure the second UAV is expected later this year. The total value of the programme is expected to be about AUD7 billion ($5 billion).
The MQ-4C Triton is a high altitude, long endurance drone devveloped under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. The system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidonmaritime patrol aircraft. Its primary surveillance sensor is an AN/ZPY-3 Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) X-band AESA radar, which is capable of a 360-degree field-of-regard, allowing a MQ-4C Triton to survey over 7 million square kilometres of ocean within a 24-hour period.