The Australian government has given the green light for the purchase of the second of six MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft.
The Australian government has given the green light for the purchase of the next MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft — the second of a planned fleet of at least six Triton RPAs that Australia is acquiring under a $1.4bn deal through a cooperative programme with the U.S. Navy.
The approval of the second aircraft means that the project is on track to see the first Triton aircraft introduced into service in mid-2023 with all six planned to be delivered by late 2025, based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Australia has committed to acquiring 15 P-8A Poseidons, along with up to seven MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft, to provide its future maritime surveillance capability. Australia's P-8A achieved initial operating capability in March 2018.
Built for the U.S. Navy, Triton will support a wide range of missions including maritime ISR patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue and communications relay. The aircraft can fly over 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.
The U.S. Navy, which is currently scheduled to operate a fleet of 68 Tritons, celebrated the commencement of Triton flight operations in June 2018 following the delivery of the first two aircraft.