Australia is acquiring its first six Northrop Grumman remotely piloted surveillance aircraft MQ-4C Triton, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, and Minister for Defence Marise Payne said in a joint statement.
Australia is expecting the delivery of Triton aircraft in mid-2023 with all six aircraft planned to be delivered and in operation by late 2025 to be based at RAAF Base, Edinburgh in South Australia.
When delivered, these unmanned aircraft will complement the surveillance role of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft through sustained operations at long ranges as well as being able to undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.
Australia is already operating seven Poseidon aircraft. By 2022, Australia is scheduled to get the full fleet of 12 Poseidon aircraft.
“The Turnbull Government will invest $1.4 billion and acquire the first of six MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft through a cooperative program with the United States Navy,” the Australian top officials said.
“As part of the initial $1.4 billion investment in the Triton system, the Government will invest $364 million on new facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh and RAAF Base Tindal, as well the necessary ground control systems, support and training required to implement a project of this nature,” they added.