Northrop Grumman is awarded a $333.4 million contract modification which exercises options for the production and delivery of three low-rate initial production MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft.
The modification also includes the delivery of two main operating bases and one forward operating base in an integrated functional capability-four and multiple-intelligence configuration, with associated export compliance support for the government of Australia.
Foreign cooperative project funds for $27.6 million will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is the contracting activity (N00019-19-C-0008)(P00007).
The contract work will be performed in San Diego, California (23.3%); Red Oak, Texas (13%); Palmdale, California (11.5%); Linthicum, Maryland (9.4%); Salt Lake City, Utah (9.3%); Bridgeport, West Virginia (5.2%); McClellan, California (4.7%); Indianapolis, Indiana (4.5%); Moss Point, Mississippi (3.3%); Waco, Texas (2.1%); San Clemente, California (1.5%); Newton, North Dakota (1%); various locations within the continental U.S. (9.8%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (1.4%). Work is expected to be completed by April 2025.
Australia’s MQ-4C Triton Procurement:
Australia is planning to procure at least six Triton aircraft from the U.S. through a cooperative program with the U.S. Navy. The Triton buy is part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF)’s Project Air 7000 program to replace its Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s AP-3C Orion aircraft.
The country recently announced the plan to purchase the third MQ-4C Triton aircraft.
Australia’s MQ-4Cs will be operated by the RAAF and will complement the surveillance role of the RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) through sustained operations at long ranges as well as being able to undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks. Together these aircraft will significantly enhance Australia’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and maritime strike capability, as well as search and rescue (SAR) capability.
The first of the MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is expected to be introduced into service in mid-2023 with all six aircraft planned to be delivered and in operation by late 2025, based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton
Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft that are used for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles. The Triton builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, with reinforcements to the airframe and wing.
The MQ-4C can fly at altitudes of 55,000 feet for 24 hours at a time and is equipped with sensors that provide high-resolution imagery and near real-time video. The sensor suite can provide a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2000 nautical miles. The aircraft 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.