Australian Triton build begins
Construction has begun (pictured) of the first MQ-4C Triton HALE UAV for Australia, manufacturer Northrop Grumman announced on 27 October.
Triton will be employed for maritime ISR by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Under Project Air 7000 Phase 1B plans, the RAAF will receive six high-altitude Tritons built in the US by Northrop Grumman; an order for the third aircraft was placed in June.
‘As a strategic partner in the cooperative development programme, Australia is a critical part of Triton’s development and production,’ said Doug Shaffer, vice-president for Triton programmes at Northrop Grumman.
Triton is designed to perform ISR missions for up to 24h at altitudes higher than 52,500ft, according to Shephard Defence Insight. Using an array of sensors, it can provide a 360° view of a wide oceanographic and littoral area, helping to identify threats and gathering data that can be relayed to naval commanders.
The first Australian Triton is expected to be introduced into service in mid-2023, with all six aircraft planned to be delivered and in operation by late 2025. They will be based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia.
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