Northrop Grumman has initiated the build process for Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton, an unmanned maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.
CAPTION: The Royal Australian Air Force’s first Triton in production. Northrop Grumman photo.
In a ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience, speakers from the Australian government, Royal Australian Air Force, US Congress, US Navy and Northrop Grumman emphasised the significance of this event.
RAAF’s air attaché to the Australian Embassy in the US Air Commodore Terry van Haren said the MQ-4C Triton would be a very important ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capability for Australia.
“It is ideally suited for Australian operating conditions, given its high altitude, long endurance, and impressive sensor suite,” Air Commodore van Haren said.
“The Royal Australian Air Force looks forward to operating the MQ-4C alongside its other ISR and response aircraft such as the P8A Poseidon.”
US Navy’s Triton program director Captain Dan Mackin applauded the continued progress of the program.
“With much of our team working remotely, geographically dispersed, and across many time zones, I am so impressed with the continued productivity I have seen and the great work being done,” Captain Mackin said.
“Our partnership near and far remains strong as we prepare to deliver the first Triton aircraft to Australia in 2023.”
Vice president of Triton programs at Northrop Grumman Doug Shaffer said that as a strategic partner in the cooperative development program, Australia was a critical part of Triton’s development and production.
“This game-changing system will boost Australia’s ISR capability and enable them to meet their surveillance needs to manage the world’s third largest exclusive economic zone.”
MQ-4C Triton is a cooperative development program between the Royal Australian Air Force and the US Navy, and will provide around-the-clock maritime wide-area ISR coverage.
Operating at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet, Triton will cover more than one million square miles – or two and a half million square kilometers – of ocean and littorals in a single flight.
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