The Commonwealth of Australia has received the MQ-4C Triton Network Integration Test Environment (NITE) capability, marking a milestone in the programme.
It has been developed and delivered by Northrop Grumman Australia ahead of schedule. The capability is based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh.
The NITE system will be employed by Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) to design, configure and test the uncrewed air vehicle’s (UAV) network interfaces and systems.
Triton’s network architecture testing will be carried out on the Australian defence’s wide area networks.
Australia’s first MQ-4C will be delivered in 2023.
Northrop Grumman Asia Pacific general manager Christine Zeitz said: “This programme will derisk the first Triton aircraft arriving into Australia and leverage the expertise and lessons learned from Northrop Grumman and the US Navy.
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“We are establishing sovereign capability to support the Triton programme which once established will revolutionise maritime ISR in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 restrictions and other safety measures, Northrop’s engineering teams in the US and Australia worked in close cooperation to achieve this delivery milestone.
The company is also working closely with the US Navy to advance Triton towards initial operating capability (IOC) and worldwide deployments.
On 30 July, the US Navy and Northrop achieved the first flight of the multi-intelligence variant.
In March 2019, the Australian Department of Defence approved the purchase of the second MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to be operated by the RAAF.
FLTLT Douglas Hogg and FLTLT Davis Strauss from the ISR Transition Office at RAAF Base.