Northrop Grumman Australia and Airbus Australia Pacific have entered into a strategic teaming agreement to co-operate in the delivery of advanced and optimised aircraft sustainment capabilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Northrop Grumman and Airbus will collaborate in the sustainment and maintenance of new capabilities that will call RAAF Base Edinburgh home.
The two companies also bring an array of proven Australian industry partners to this arrangement that will augment those capabilities and expand access to specialty competencies.
Chris Deeble, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Australia, welcomed the announcement, saying, “With the imminent arrival of ground-based infrastructure for the MQ-4C Triton unmanned system, we are already working on expanding our presence at Edinburgh.”
“This agreement underscores Northrop Grumman’s commitment to Australian investment across advanced capabilities, skills and jobs in support of the country’s strategic defence programs.”
Australia is currently scheduled to receive their first ground control station in 2022 and their first of six to seven Triton air vehicles in 2023. Northrop Grumman is already building long lead items and is scheduled to begin building the airframe for Australia’s first air vehicle later this year.
Remotely flying out of RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, the Tritons are capable of monitoring 5.2 million square kilometres in a 24-hour mission and seamlessly flying a round trip for sustained surveillance and in support of allied freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea from the Northern Territory – increasing Australia’s interoperability with key allies, particularly the US.
The Triton is designed to operate in conjunction with Australia’s planned fleet of 12 manned P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft.
The nation's Tritons provide a quantum leap in the nation’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, while the facilities and crew required to operate, train and maintain will be part of the initial $1.4 billion investment, which includes $364 million on new facilities at RAAF Bases Edinburgh and Tindal (in NT).
Andrew Mathewson, managing director at Airbus Australia Pacific, reinforced the comments of Deeble, saying, “Both Airbus and Northrop Grumman have a long and proven heritage in platform stewardship.
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“Together, this expanded team has the capacity, capability and credentials needed to deliver reliable and effective sustainment solutions to the RAAF at Edinburgh.”
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over vast ocean and coastal regions.
Based on the proven Global Hawk UAS, Triton’s autonomous operations are supported by land-based command and control mission planners and sensor operators.
Triton will be equipped with a unique and robust mission sensor suite that provides 360-degree coverage on all sensors, providing unprecedented maritime domain awareness for the US Navy.