The government of Australia wants more information on Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk spy drone, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and its Australian counterpart.

Australia will issue a formal letter of request to the Pentagon to gain access to detailed cost, capability and availability information on the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, according to recently issued statements from the Pentagon and Australia’s defense department.

Such a letter does not commit Australia to buying the Triton, which is the seagoing variant of the Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman does engineering on the Global Hawk and other unmanned projects in its Rancho Bernardo office.

A statement from Australia’s defense department said its goal is “to provide long-range, long-endurance maritime surveillance and response, and an effective anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability.”

According to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command, the Triton will be able to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission.

If Australia decides it wants to buy the aircraft, the Pentagon would have to serve as an intermediary.

— SDBJ Staff Report