Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper identified the requirement for seven high altitude, long endurance Triton unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman will deliver the Triton through a cooperative program with the United States Navy.
“Northrop Grumman is excited to develop this unrivaled capability for the Royal Australian Air Force,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president and program manager, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. “Triton will provide the Australian Defence Force a high-altitude, long-endurance system for intelligence, reconnaissance and broad area surveillance missions to enhance the security of Australia’s borders.”
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne identified “people smuggling and the exploitation of our natural resources” as threats which Triton’s capabilities can help to address.
In addition to the seven MQ-4C Triton UAS, Australia is set to procure 15 P-8A Poseidon MPA in order to boost its maritime surveillance capability.
According to its launch customer, the US Navy, the MQ-4C Triton is an autonomously operated system that provides a persistent maritime ISR capability using multiple maritime sensors. The MQ-4C Triton air vehicle is based upon the United States Air Force (USAF) RQ-4B Global Hawk, while its sensors are based upon components of (or entire systems) already fielded in the DoD inventory. Along with the P-8A manned aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton is integral to the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) Family of Systems (FoS). The MPRF is the operational agent for the MQ-4C Triton and Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG) is the fleet sponsor for the manned/unmanned integration concept.