Northrop Grumman announced that it recently completed a new milestone in production of Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton aircraft when the fuselage was mounted on a one-piece Triton wing.
The joining of the fuselage and wing is the latest milestone in Australia’s program to acquire three high-altitude, long-haul MQ-4C (HALE) aircraft.
Northrop Grumman officially began work on Australia’s first Triton in October 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2023. The first flights into Australian skies are scheduled for 2024.
Once completed and delivered, Triton’s payload and endurance will give the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) the ability to detect and analyze threats that were previously undetectable.
“This production milestone further demonstrates our commitment to both sides of the cooperative program between the Royal Australian Air Force and the US Navy,” said Roe Coule-Brunner, Triton Program Manager at Northrop Grumman.
Australia’s first Triton is on its way to delivery, just as the US Navy hopes to reach initial operational capability with its multi-intelligence Triton, the same configuration Australia is receiving. Similar capabilities will allow the RAAF and the US Navy to share data and maintain autonomous intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capabilities in some of the world’s most important maritime regions.
“The Australian Air Force is pleased with the continued progress of our first Triton and the solid and ongoing relationship we enjoy within the cooperative program with the US Navy and Triton manufacturer Northrop Grumman Corporation,” said Captain Jason Lind Group, Director of Intelligence, Surveillance. , Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare, Australian Air Force Headquarters. “I look forward to seeing our first Triton off the production line and then flying into Australian skies in 2024. This capability will expand Australia’s ability to see and understand our oceanic approach north and south of Antarctica “
Australia is buying a total of three Tritons, having placed orders for the first two units in 2019 and the third in 2020. The country needs six Tritons to be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as part of the phase. Air 7000 Project 1B.