Northrop Grumman today unveiled Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton autonomous aircraft with a ceremony at its high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft production site in California.
CAPTION: Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton. Photo supplied by Northrop Grumman.
Attended by Australian and US government and defence officials, the event highlighted the continued progress of the MQ-4C Triton program for both the Royal Australian Air Force and US Navy.
President of Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems Tom Jones said the event marked a significant milestone for Australia and the MQ-4C Triton program.
“As we get ready for final system integration and flight test, we are one step closer to delivering this extraordinary maritime awareness capability to Australia,” Mr Jones said.
“Australia is a cooperative program partner in the Triton program and was critical in helping shape the requirements for the system.
“As partners, US and Australian defence forces will be able to share data collected by their respective Tritons, a critical ability in one of the world’s most strategically important regions.”
Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman said Triton would provide the RAAF with an unprecedented capability to monitor and protect Australian maritime approaches.
“Triton will work alongside the P-8A Poseidon and this unmanned aircraft system will allow us to cover significant areas, at longer ranges and has the ability to stay airborne longer than a traditional aircraft,” Air Force Air Marshal Chipman said.
Northrop Grumman initiated the build of the first Australian Triton in October 2020 at its production facility in Moss Point, Mississippi, and met another major production milestone in December 2021 when the fuselage and one-piece wing were mated in Palmdale, California.
The aircraft is scheduled for production completion in 2023 and delivery to Australia in 2024.