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 2,000 nautical miles.
The seven Tritons will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh and will operate alongside the P-8A Poseidon to replace the AP-3C Orion capability.
The Triton will operate alongside the P-8A to replace the ageing AP-3C Orion capability. The endurance of the Triton means it can stay airborne for longer than a traditional aircraft where the pilot is in the aircraft.
Like other Air Force aircraft, the Triton will be flown by a qualified RAAF pilots, experienced in complex airspace. However the Triton will be flown from a ground station where pilots are supported by a co-pilot while the information gathered is analysed and disseminated by operational staff.
Operational staff may include aircrew, intelligence, operations and administration officers, engineers and logisticians, depending on the training or mission requirements.
Whilst building on elements of the Global Hawk UAS, the Triton incorporates reinforcements to the airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed and will complement the P-8A Poseidon.
The Triton platform has been under development by the United States Navy since 2008.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)
A Remotely Piloted Aircraft is the actual aircraft, which is flown by qualified pilots from a ground control station.
The Unmanned Aircraft System is the entire system that supports the aircraft. The system includes the aircraft, the ground control station, communications systems, information analysis, maintenance, logistics and other support facilities.