Northrop Grumman has flagged off the build process for Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton, an unmanned maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. The UAV will be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 2023.
The MQ-4C is a cooperative development program between the RAAF and the U.S. Navy, and provides a round-the-clock maritime wide-area ISR. Operating at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet, the UAV can cover more than one million square miles, or two and a half million square kilometers, of ocean and littorals in a single flight.
“The MQ-4C Triton will be a very important ISR capability for Australia,” said Air Commodore Terry van Haren, the RAAF’s air attaché to the Australian embassy. “It is ideally suited for Australian operating conditions, given its high altitude, long endurance, and impressive sensor suite.”
“With much of our team working remotely, geographically dispersed, and across many time zones, I am so impressed with the continued productivity I have seen and the great work being done,” said Capt. Dan Mackin, the U.S. Navy’s Triton program director. “Our partnership near and far remains strong as we prepare to deliver the first Triton aircraft to Australia in 2023.”
“As a strategic partner in the cooperative development program, Australia is a critical part of Triton’s development and production,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. “This game-changing system will boost Australia’s ISR capability and enable them to meet their surveillance needs to manage the world’s third largest exclusive economic zone.”
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