Australia is set to purchase an additional Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) System to further strengthen its maritime approaches.

Following the acquisition, the Australian Triton fleet will comprise three aircraft safeguarding and securing the country’s borders.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “Once in service, this capability will significantly enhance our ability to persistently patrol Australia’s maritime approaches from the North, in the South West Pacific, and down to Antarctica.

“The fleet is being developed and purchased through a cooperative programme with the US Navy.

“This programme strengthens our ability to develop advanced maritime surveillance capability and ensure our capabilities remain complementary with our security partners, while sharing in the benefits of their technical expertise and project costs.”

The project offers opportunities for the country’s defence industry, including the construction of facilities in South Australia and the Northern Territory and for supporting software integration, engineering, logistics and manufacturing of components.

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Reynolds added: “Together we are developing this cutting-edge military technology to the highest standards. This work will help ensure Australia’s maritime region is secure well into the future.

“Over A$475m ($326.3m) is set to be spent locally, with several Australian companies already completing Triton production work for Northrop Grumman Corporation.”

In December last year, Australia accepted the delivery of its 12th Poseidon aircraft to be deployed on multiple overseas operations.

The capabilities of MQ-4C Triton and P-8A Poseidon will combine to operate and deliver maritime patrol and response.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) selected Sonardyne International’s BlueComm undersea communications system.