Following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review, the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) obtained positive Milestone C Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) approval. The decision marks the beginning of the production and deployment phase of the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition process.
«Triton’s critical technology is mature, and the system development and design review phases have been successful», said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «Completion of the full system Operational Assessment (OA) testing exercised in various real-world scenarios validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving threats. We are extremely pleased with the maritime domain awareness products and results coming from Triton».
An integrated test team made up of Navy personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons VX-1 and VX-20, Unmanned Patrol Squadron, VUP-19 and Northrop Grumman demonstrated the true reliability of Triton going into Milestone C. The team analyzed and validated sensor imagery and performance at different altitudes and ranges. The aircraft system’s ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined as part of the OA testing. Successful evaluation of Triton’s time on station confirmed that it will meet flight duration requirements. Triton also transferred full motion video to a P-8A Poseidon in flight, proving a key capability to significantly enhance its ability to detect, track, classify and identify maritime threats.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance over vast ocean and coastal regions. Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the high-altitude UAS is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings at a radius of over 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km.
Triton builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS while incorporating reinforcements to the airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The current sensor suite allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification.
Built to support the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, Triton will support a wide range of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and search and rescue. The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be built.
- Provides persistent maritime ISR at a mission radius of 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km; 24 hours/7 days per week with 80% Effective Time On Station (ETOS)
- Land-based air vehicle and sensor command and control
- Afloat Level II payload sensor data via line-of-sight
- Dual redundant flight controls and surfaces
- 51,000-hour airframe life
- Due Regard Radar for safe separation
- Anti/de-ice, bird strike, and lightning protection
- Communications bandwidth management
- Commercial off-the-shelf open architecture mission control system
- Net-ready interoperability solution
Multi-Function Active Sensor Active Electronically Steered Array (MFAS AESA) radar:
- 2D AESA;
- Maritime and air-to-ground modes;
- Long-range detection and classification of targets.
MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system:
- Auto-target tracking;
- High resolution at multiple field-of-views;
- Full motion video.
AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures:
- All digital;
- Specific Emitter Identification.
Automatic Identification System:
- Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements.
|Wingspan||130.9 feet/39.9 m|
|Length||47.6 feet/14.5 m|
|Height||15.4 feet/4.6 m|
|Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW)||32,250 lbs/14,628 kg|
|Maximum Internal Payload||3,200 lbs/1,452 kg|
|Maximum External Payload||2,400 lbs/1,089 kg|
|Self-Deploy||8,200 NM/9,436 miles/15,186 km|
|Maximum Altitude||56,500 feet/17,220 m|
|Maximum Velocity, TAS (True Air Speed)||331 knots/381 mph/613 km/h|
|Maximum Endurance||24 hours|