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. Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the Triton is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2000 nautical miles.

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, and logisticians (depending on the training or mission requirements).

About the Aircraft

The Triton 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, which complements the P-8A Poseidon.

The Triton platform has been under development by the United States Navy since 2008.



Manufacturer Northrop Grumman
Role Real-time Maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
Airframe Length:14.5 m, height: 4.6 m
Wingspan 39.9 m
Weight 14, 628 kg
Speed 331 knots (max)
Ceiling 50,000 feet
Range 24 hrs+


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