Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton officially unveiled

Northrop Grumman formally unveiled Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton autonomous aircraft in Palmdale, California on 16 March 2023 (local time) – early this morning Australian time.

CAPTION: Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton unveiled at the Northrop Grumman facility in California. Screen-grab from video.

The event was attended by Australian and US government and defence officials and marked a “watershed moment in advancement of air power for Australia” according to Head of Air Force Capability Air Vice Marshall Robert Denney, who represented the RAAF at the rollout.

“The significance and importance of Triton to Australia’s intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities cannot be overstated,” Air Vice Marshall Denney said.

“While Triton is primarily designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, it will support a broad range of joint effects and fully integrate into our combat architecture.

“It will revolutionise the way The Australian Defence Force conducts operations with our partners and allies.”

Air Vice Marshall Denney said Australia was a proud partner in the Triton program and our imbedded personnel were already acquiring the knowledge and experience required to bring the aircraft back to Australia.

“In working together with our US Navy and industry partners in developing the capability of this aircraft, we are pushing the boundaries of air power and pursuing a truly advanced platform that will provide both a foundation of capability and a growth path for decades.”

MQ-4C Triton is a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) remotely-piloted aircraft that will complement the P- 8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft acquired under Project AIR 7000 as a ‘family of systems’.

Triton aircraft will be home based at RAAF Base Tindal, with operations headquartered at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

9 Squadron, which was recently re-raised, will operate Triton.

Triton will be capable of supporting missions of longer than 24 hours while covering an area of more than one million square nautical miles – an area larger than Western Australia.

In a cooperative program with the United States Navy, Australia was intimately involved in the development, production, and sustainment of the Triton capability.

The first Australian MQ-4C, rolled out overnight, will be flown Downunder mid next year and is scheduled to reach initial operating capability in 2025-26.

The Australian government has approved the acquisition of three Triton aircraft and supporting systems, with the acquisition of further aircraft subject to future government consideration – however, the RAAF has long had plans to acquire seven of the aircraft, a point reiterated by Air Vice Marshall Denney during today’s ceremony.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

8 thoughts on “Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton officially unveiled

  • 19/03/2023 at 2:59 pm

    Trust an Arab before you trust a Jew. Trust a Jew before you trust a Greek. But, NEVER trust a Chinaman! Rudyard Kipling.

  • 19/03/2023 at 9:31 am

    If China isn’t a threat. Then why the build up in the North of Australia. Pine Gap Surveillance is a very big reason one might attack or invade Australia. Japan didn’t threaten Australia through threats. But ultimately they attacked us. If not for Aussies in Papua New Guinea, we may we’ll have been invaded ..

  • 18/03/2023 at 5:25 pm

    Michael, I have a tendency to agree with you in as much that it wont happen next year but… What’s the saying?
    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

  • 17/03/2023 at 1:27 pm

    After the cock-up and accompanying (under quoted) sky-high costs of the Submarine debacle, the R.A.A.F. should be grateful we can afford anything more than a few box-kites with iPhones cable tied to them.

    • 18/03/2023 at 12:13 pm

      Doesn’t matter how much it cost to protect Australia, I for one don’t want to learn Chinese.

      • 18/03/2023 at 2:34 pm

        Dear Anonymous.

        Do you really think the Chinese are planning to invade Australia?
        What makes you think that?
        Have the Chinese ever intimated that in word, thought, concept or deed?
        Why do you think they want to invade Australia?
        How do you think this might happen?
        I invite you to prove me wrong.

        We have as much chance of the Russians invading Australia as the Chinese invading, nil!


        • 19/03/2023 at 4:22 pm

          China doesn’t have to invade Australia to bring it to its knees. We are dependant upon imports of technology, vehicles and fuel. We can’t last a month without fuel, as we have no reserves (except those stored in the USA). China only needs to destroy the ships supplying us, or our ports.

      • 19/03/2023 at 10:09 am

        As our major trading partner Chinese would be a very good language to learn.


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