Northrop Grumman unveils Australian 1st MQ-4C Triton

Tech company Northrop Grumman Corporation has unveiled Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton autonomous aircraft during a ceremony at its aircraft production site in California.

Photo: Northrop Grumman Corporation

The event, attended by Australian, U.S. government and defense officials, highlighted the continued progress of the MQ-4C Triton program for both the Royal Australian Air Force and US Navy.

Australia is a cooperative program partner in the Triton program and was critical in helping shape the requirements for the system. As partners, US and Australian defense forces will be able to share data collected by their respective Tritons, a critical ability in one of the world’s most strategically important regions. 

“Triton will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with an unprecedented capability to monitor and protect our maritime approaches,” said Air Marshal Robert Chipman, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“Triton will work alongside the P-8A Poseidon and this unmanned aircraft system will allow us to cover significant areas, at longer ranges and has the ability to stay airborne longer than a traditional aircraft.”

Northrop Grumman initiated the build of the first Australian Triton in October 2020 at its production facility in Moss Point, Miss.

The company achieved a major production milestone in December 2021 when the fuselage and one-piece wing were mated in Palmdale, California.

The aircraft is scheduled for production completion in 2023 and delivery to Australia in 2024.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems perform critical wide-area intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) missions.