The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has reported the approval by the US State Department for the sale of four Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime unmanned aircraft systems to Germany.
The approval for US$2.5bn (A$3.25bn) covers four air vehicles, one mission control station which comprises fixed and mobile elements, a spare engine, mission planning systems, and various navigation, ground support and flight test support systems and equipment.
“The proposed sale of the MQ-4C Triton will support legitimate national security requirements and significantly enhance Germany’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and the overall collective security of the European Union and NATO,” the DSCA notification reads.
“The proposed sale of the MQ-4C Triton will close a crucial capability gap and will enhance bilateral and NATO interoperability and will help ensure that Germany is able to continue to monitor and deter regional threats.”
The notification provides no details as to a possible service entry timeframe nor what configuration German Tritons will be delivered in, only noting that it “will be a modified version of the United States Navy (USN) Triton configuration.”
Australia is currently the only other international customer for Triton, having passed a Gate 1 approval of Project AIR 7000 Phase 1B in February 2014. The 2016 Defence White Paper confirmed a requirement for seven Tritons, and Gate 2 approval had been scheduled for consideration by Government for the first quarter of 2018.
ADBR understands Gate 2 consideration has now been deferred until May, and that fewer than seven Tritons will initially be considered.