Federal government to spend $7 billion on six ‘Triton’ drones.

Almost $7 billion will be spent on six long-range surveillance drones that will expand Australia’s regional military role in Asia and strengthen joint operations with the US.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will announce more details about the surveillance spending spree on Tuesday, including the purchase of the Australia’s first Triton drone, which will come into service in 2023.

The RAAF’s eventual full fleet of six Triton aircraft are set to be operational by late 2025, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

It’s understood the federal government will consider a seventh aircraft in the future.

American defence giant Northrop Grumman will make the Triton aircraft (pictured), which can monitor an area the size of Switzerland in a day
Federal government to spend $7 billion on six ‘Triton’ drones.
The federal government will initially purchase six MQ-4C Triton planes (pictured)
Federal government to spend $7 billion on six ‘Triton’ drones.

Around $364 million for upgrades to house the new drones at new facilities at Edinburgh, north of Adelaide, as well as RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.

The project is expected to create a combined 70 jobs in South Australia and Northern Territory, The Adelaide Advertiser reported.

The publication also reported that Defence has expressed interest in acquiring unarmed aircraft equipped with missiles.

‘These aircraft will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability, as well as our search and rescue capability,’ Mr Turnbull said.

‘Our number one priority is keeping Australians safe. This investment will protect our borders and make our region more secure.’

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