MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

The Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft that will be used for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles.

Seven Tritons will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh and will operate alongside the P-8A Poseidon to replace the AP-3C Orions. The endurance of the Triton means that it can stay airborne for longer than a traditional aircraft where the pilot is inside.

The Triton will be flown by qualified Air Force pilots from a ground station, supported by a co-pilot. 

Information gathered by the Triton will be analysed and communicated by operational staff such as: 

  • aircrew 
  • intelligence 
  • operations and administration officers 
  • engineers 
  • logisticians.

The Triton platform has been under development by the United States Navy since 2008. It builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS, with reinforcements to the airframe and wing. It also has de-icing and lightning protection systems, which allow it to descend through cloud layers and gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea.

Specifications

Manufacturer Northrop Grumman
Role
  • Real-time maritime intelligence
  • Surveillance
  • Reconnaissance
Length 14.5m
Height 4.6m
Wing span 39.9m
Weight 14,628kg
Range 24 hrs+
Ceiling 50,000 feet
Speed 331 knots (max)