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Australia re-forming squadron to operate Tritons

The RAAF's new MQ-4C Triton unit (9 SQN) will operate across two locations – at RAAF Base Tindal and at RAAF Base Edinburgh. The two airbases are separated by a distance of over 2,300 km. In this photograph, the RAAF's first Triton is shown with the insignia of 9 SQN. (Northrop Grumman)

Australia has said that it will re-form a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron to operate the country's MQ-4C Triton fleet, which is scheduled to be delivered from 2024.

An Australia Department of Defence (DoD) spokesperson told Janes that No 9 Squadron (9 SQN) is scheduled to “re-form later in 2023”. The announcement of the squadron's re-formation was first made on 3 March by Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, during Australia's recently concluded Avalon Airshow.

A full-scale mock-up of the Triton remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) displayed at the airshow had the emblem of the squadron, according to a DoD photograph.

“[The] Triton will form part of the air intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability [of the RAAF],” a DoD spokesperson said. According to Australian defence officials, operations of the new squadron will be split across two locations – at RAAF Base Tindal in Australia's Northern Territory and at RAAF Base Edinburgh, 2,330 km to the southwest, in the suburb of Adelaide.

“As a part of No 92 Wing, 9 SQN will be headquartered at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, with the operational crews and administrative personnel,” the DoD spokesperson said. “Operations will primarily be conducted from RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, including maintenance, launch, and recovery personnel.”

Northrop Grumman Australia (NGA) said it has been assisting the RAAF with “a variety of technical and operational support” as the air force prepares to receive the first Triton in 2024.

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