AME Systems has announced it has become only the third company in the world to gain certification from Northrop Grumman to develop wire harnesses for the MQ-4C Triton, writes Liam Garman.
The aircraft is a collaboration between the RAAF and the US Navy, and provides around-the-clock maritime wide-area ISR, operating at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet.
The new licence means the Ararat-based business can deliver products to Northrop Grumman as part of its ongoing package with RAAF.
Nick Carthew, managing director of AME Systems, said he is proud of the agreement as one of only three global companies with the certification.
Chief executive of Northrop Grumman Australia Chris Deeble outlined that growing Australia’s sovereign capacity was one of Northrop Grumman’s key objectives.
“Growth of Australian industry content within our programs is one of Northrop Grumman’s top priorities,” Deeble said. “AME joins a growing number of Australian companies supplying components for the Triton system and we look forward to delivering the first Australian Triton, built with Australian-made components, in 2023.”
Northrop Grumman announced in October that it had started building Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton.
The drone is designed to operate in conjunction with Australia’s planned fleet of 12 manned P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft.
The US Navy aims to operate 68, with the RAAF expecting to operate between six and seven.
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Australia is currently scheduled to receive its first ground control station in 2022 and its first of six to seven Tritons in 2023.
Remotely flying out of RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, the Tritons are capable of monitoring 5.2 million square kilometres in a 24-hour mission and seamlessly flying a round trip for sustained surveillance and in support of allied freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea from the Northern Territory.
The nation’s Tritons provide a quantum leap in the nation’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, while the facilities and crew required to operate, train and maintain will be part of the initial $1.4 billion investment, which includes $364 million on new facilities at RAAF Bases Edinburgh and Tindal (in NT).
Loyal Wingman, fully unveiled to the world in May 2020, is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in this country in more than 50 years. It uses AI to fly alongside both manned and unmanned aircraft in mid-air, hence the project name.
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