Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

Adelaide will be the centre of Australia’s new unmanned aerial vehicle fleet, complementing the nation’s new fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft for maritime surveillance, also to be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

The Australian Government has committed to acquiring six MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles subject to the successful completion of a United States Navy development program.

Built by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy, the Triton concept came out of a joint US/Australian trial of the global Hawk unmanned aircraft system in South Australia in 2001.

The Tritons will provide the Department of Defence with unprecedented intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. They are able to operate at up to 55,000 feet over extremely long ranges, remaining airborne for in excess of 24 hours.

South Australia will be home to the Tritons’ ground control station, which controls their flight and operations, and processes, evaluates and disseminates the surveillance data collected.

The Tritons will not only provide South Australian industry with sustainment opportunities, but also foster a centre of excellence in unmanned aerial systems technology, bringing together world-leading companies, universities and defence organisations focused on maximising the new capability.

As part of the initial $1.4 billion investment in the Triton system, the Australian Government will invest $364 million on new facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh and RAAF Base Tindal, as well as the necessary ground control systems, support and training required for the project. The project is expected to create around 70 jobs across South Australia and the Northern Territory.

More information: RAAF MQ-4C Unmanned Aircraft System

For further information please direct all enquiries to Reg Carruthers, Director, Aerospace at Defence SA. Tel: +61 8 8226 5027 or