Northrop Grumman has initiated the build process for Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.
“The MQ-4C Triton will be a very important ISR capability for Australia,” said Air Commodore Terry van Haren, the RAAF’s air attaché to the Australian embassy. “It is ideally suited for Australian operating conditions, given its high altitude, long endurance, and impressive sensor suite. The Royal Australian Air Force looks forward to operating the MQ-4C alongside its other ISR and response aircraft such as the P8A Poseidon.”
Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for 2023.
The MQ-4C is a cooperative development program between the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Navy, and provides a round-the-clock maritime wide-area ISR. Operating at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet, Triton can cover more than one million square miles, or two and a half million square kilometers, of ocean and littorals in a single flight, bringing unprecedented awareness to commanders’ common operating pictures.
The high altitude, long endurance drone was developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. 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.