Australia commits to next Triton remotely piloted aircraft

The Australian government is purchasing the next MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft.

This aircraft is the second of a planned fleet of at least six Triton aircraft that Australia is acquiring through a cooperative program with the United States Navy.

Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, and Minister for Defence Industry, Linda Reynolds, announced on March 27 that the federal government will commit to the purchase.

Pyne said the Triton acquisition is an important part of strengthening the security of Australia’s maritime boarders.

“The Triton – which will complement our manned P-8A Poseidon aircraft – will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability as well as our ability to monitor and secure Australia’s maritime approaches,” said Pyne.

“These capabilities help us protect our maritime area from threats such as people smuggling, and the exploitation of our natural resources from activities like illegal fishing.

“The Tritons will also be able to undertake enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks to support whole-of-government operations,” said Pyne.

Reynolds said that the Triton provides significant opportunities for Australian defence industry.

“The project is expected to create about 70 jobs in South Australia and the Northern Territory,” said Reynolds.

“In the sustainment phase in particular there will be significant opportunity for Australian industry to share in billions of dollars of system maintenance and network management functions.

“Just last month Northrop Grumman – the manufacturer of the Triton – signed an Australian Industry Capability Deed with Defence, which will result in even more investment and enhanced opportunities for Australian companies,” said Reynolds.

The approval of the second aircraft means that the project is on track to see the first Triton aircraft introduced into service in mid-2023 with all six planned to be delivered by late 2025, based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.


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