Major upgrade for Adelaide-based RAAF patrol fleet

Australia will buy a fourth Triton drone and upgrade its Edinburgh-based fleet of P-8A Poseidon patrol planes under a new $1.5 billion package.



The Triton is a long-range surveillance drone capable of keeping watch over Australia’s vast maritime zones.

The first of the four is set to be delivered by 2024. The drones will be based at the Tindal airbase in the Northern Territory and be operated by personnel at Edinburgh in Adelaide’s north.

The 14 Poseidon patrol and response aircraft will be upgraded to include long range anti-ship missiles and intelligence-gathering capabilities.

The first will enter service in 2026 and the upgrades on all 14 planes are due to be completed by 2030.

An extra 140 jobs in SA and the NT are expected to be created by the $220 million allocated to a maintenance workforce.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the package will enhance Australia’s ability to operate out of its northern bases, which was a recommendation of a landmark defence review.

“The upgrades to the fleet of Poseidon aircraft strengthen our ability to secure and protect Australia’s maritime interests,” he said.​

“The investment in both these aircraft will deliver more jobs, capability and security for Australians.”


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