Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the first flight of Australia’s multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aircraft at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center in California. The first flight took approximately 6 hours and 24 minutes.
The flight marks a major production milestone as Northrop Grumman progresses toward delivery of Australia’s first Triton in 2024.
Built for the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force, the multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton is the only uncrewed, high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft performing persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting. Airworthiness evaluations, such as engine, flight control and fuel system checks, and basic aircraft handling tests were conducted during the tests.
In September, the Australian government announced the addition of a fourth aircraft that will enhance the resilience of their fleet and provide superior surveillance capability to monitor and protect Australia’s maritime interests 24/7.
“We are leveraging our deep expertise in uncrewed high-altitude long endurance aircraft to enable Australia to establish a superior long range maritime surveillance capability to monitor and protect Australia’s maritime interests 24/7,” said Christine Zeitz, chief executive and general manager Australia & New Zealand, Northrop Grumman:
“Triton expands Australia’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability by providing reliable real-time intelligence and situational awareness,” said Air Marshal Robert Chipman, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force. “Persistent surveillance enables better planning, greatly enhancing joint military responses and operations.”
The multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aerial system achieved a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC) by the U.S. Navy on Aug. 3 this year.
Australia’s role in the Triton cooperative program was critical to shaping its system requirements. Together, U.S. and Australian defense forces will be able to share data collected by their respective Tritons, a critical ability in one of the world’s most strategically important regions.
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