Royal Australian Air Force’s 9 Squadron reformed on June 11, to prepare for the delivery of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft system. The squadron has a proud wartime history, serving during World War 2 and the Vietnam War. Initially formed in 1939, 9 Squadron saw active service during World War 2 in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, receiving 12 battle honours. Following initial disbandment in 1944, 9 Squadron reformed 61 years ago on June 11, 1962, as a helicopter squadron undertaking active service in the Vietnam War. The squadron was then disbanded again in 1989. 9 Squadron will reform in 92 Wing Surveillance and Response Group.
The headquarters will be located at RAAF Base Edinburgh and most Triton operations will occur from RAAF Base Tindal. Triton will form part of Australia’s maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, complementing Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon. The two aircraft systems will provide a leading-edge maritime patrol and response capability for Australia. Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Rob Chipman said the re-establishment of 9 Squadron marked the beginning of a new era in the squadron’s distinguished history. The reformation of 9 Squadron was announced by Defence Minister Richard Marles during the 2023 Australian International Airshow. Defence expects the delivery of it’s first Triton, including the relevant ground and support systems, next year.
“9 Squadron has played an incredibly important role in the Royal Australian Air Force, serving during critical times for Australia’s security. I’m proud to see the squadron return to service in 2023,” Air Marshal Chipman said.
“Air Force enters its second century, the MQ-4C Triton represented a fundamental change in utilising airpower. “Uncrewed aerial systems offer enormous potential to capitalise on the opportunities provided by modern payloads and increased endurance. This will deliver unprecedented persistence and awareness over the maritime domain in support of the Integrated Force,” Officer Commanding 92 Wing Group Captain Paul Carpenter said.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is an American high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under development for the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft. Together with its associated ground control station, it is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Triton builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk; changes include reinforcements to the air frame and wing, de-icing systems, and lightning protection systems.