Sydney.- The Australian government said on Tuesday it will allocate about 1.5 billion Australian dollars ($965 million at today’s exchange rate) to modernize its maritime surveillance air fleet amid strategic tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
This amount will be used to purchase a fourth MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, as well as system improvements to Australia’s fleet of 14 Boeing P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft.
Australia, which has joined several multilateral defense pacts in recent years, has increased its military spending to maintain a more proactive strategy and has generally targeted China as an actor destabilizing the Southeast Asia and peace regions.
The MQ-4C Triton – a device that has the autonomy to fly about 11,000 kilometers per day and reach an altitude of 4,880 meters – will be used to monitor Australia’s vast maritime territory, according to a statement released today by the Defense Industry Minister of the oceanic country, Pat Conroy.
This device, manufactured by the American company Northrop Grumman, will complement the three MQ-4C Tritons, the purchase of which was announced in 2018 and which will be delivered to the Australian armed forces starting next year.
In the statement, Secretary Conroy also explained that the improvements being made to the fleet of 14 Boeing P-8A aircraft will serve to “enhance anti-submarine warfare, maritime attack and intelligence gathering capabilities “.
The Defense Ministry estimates that these aircraft will enter the modernization program between 2026 and 2030, the statement said.
The Australian government also reported that part of the funds announced today will be allocated as part of the signing of a preliminary contract for Northrop Grumman Australia personnel to maintain the Tritons at the Tindal base in northern Australia, as well as at the Edinburgh base, in the south of the ocean country.