Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed Australia to the $1.4 billion procurement of the first six Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton long-range surveillance drones, which will be used to support maritime border security and freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) throughout the region.
The Prime Minister, along with Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, announced the long-awaited procurement of the giant Northrop Grumman unmanned aerial systems (UAS) today as part of a joint program with the United States Navy.
"The Triton will complement the surveillance role of the P-8A Poseidon through sustained operations at long ranges as well as being able to undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks," said the Prime Minister.
The initial $1.4 billion investment in the Triton system will also include $364 million on new facilities at RAAF Bases Edinburgh and Tindal, as well as the necessary ground control systems, support and training required to implement a project of this scope.
PM Turnbull said, "The first of the Triton aircraft is expected to be introduced into service in mid-2023 with all six aircraft to be delivered and in operation by late 2025, based at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia."
More to come.