The Australian defense ministry announced it is buying the second of a planned fleet of six MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft.
Australia is acquiring the Tritons through a cooperative program with the United States Navy. The MQ-4C is being acquired to complement Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft operations.
Australian defense minister Christopher Pyne said the Triton acquisition was an important part of strengthening the security of Australia’s maritime boarders.
“The Triton – which will complement our manned P-8A Poseidon aircraft – will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability as well as our ability to monitor and secure Australia’s maritime approaches,” minister Pyne said.
“These capabilities help us protect our maritime area from threats such as people smuggling, and the exploitation of our natural resources from activities like illegal fishing.”
“The Tritons will also be able to undertake enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks to support whole-of-government operations.”
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.