Northrop Grumman has scored a deal to supply an additional MQ-4C Triton Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) System to Australia.
Following the acquisition, the Australian Triton fleet will comprise three aircraft securing the country’s borders. Operating at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet, Triton can cover more than 2 million square miles of ocean and littorals in a single flight, bringing unprecedented awareness to operational commanders’ common operating pictures.
The remotely piloted High Altitude Long Endurance aerial system will complement the P- 8A Poseidon maritime aircraft acquired under AIR 7000 Phase 2 as a ‘family of systems.’ Initial Operating Capability for the MQ-4C Triton is expected in 2023-24.
In addition to the aircraft, Australia has also committed funds for the main operating base at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia and a forward operating base at RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory. The main operating base allows for a permanent control station while the forward operating base enables deployment of the Triton system to support Australian national security requirements.
The MQ-4C Triton is a high altitude, long endurance drone developed 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 (SAR) missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime 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.