The ADF will acquire a fourth MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft system and upgrade its fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the Australian Government has announced.
CAPTION: Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy MP, during the announcement to boost the RAAF’s fleet of 14 Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Response aircraft at RAAF Fairbairn. Photo by Jay Cronan.
The MQ-4C Triton will provide long-range, persistent surveillance across Australia’s maritime region.
The first aircraft, including the relevant ground and support systems, is due to be delivered to Australia in 2024.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the purchase of the additional Triton will enhance operations from Australia’s northern bases, a priority under the Defence Strategic Review.
“The upgrades to the fleet of Poseidon aircraft strengthens our ability to secure and protect Australia’s maritime interests,” Mr Conroy said.
When in service, the Triton will be based at RAAF Base Tindal, NT, and operated by Air Force’s newly reformed 9 Squadron, located at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
CAPTION: 2014 ile photo of MQ-4C Triton, courtesy of Northrop Grumman. (Image has been manipulated.)
The Northrop Grumman Corporation-manufactured MQ-4C Tritons are being developed and acquired by the ADF in cooperation with the US Navy.
Australia’s fleet of 14 P-8A Poseidons will be upgraded, delivering enhancements to anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike and intelligence collection capabilities.
The first Poseidons are expected to enter the upgrade program in 2026, with the final aircraft to be completed in 2030.
The estimated combined value of the acquisitions and upgrade is more than $1.5 billion.
About the same time, but with no announcement whatsoever, the Albanese Government reportedly cancelled the Royal Australian Navy’s Schiebel S-100 Camcopter project.
The ABC says Defence refused to confirm or deny the S-100 cancellation but that they did say the project was still progressing.