According to Marina Malenic, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, the U.S. Navy (USN) plans to add a Due Regard Radar to its Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft after it is deployed to the fleet.
The radar «will be an upgrade to the initial capability in the 2020 time frame», said Sean Burke, the programme manager for the navy’s persistent maritime unmanned aircraft systems programme office. Due Regard Radar would allow «non co-operative» detection of other aircraft.
The name «Due Regard» comes from an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirement that military aircraft be flown with «Due Regard for the safety of navigation of civil aircraft». Burke said the navy will begin conducting Triton sensor test flights within the next three weeks and delivering the aircraft to the fleet at the end of 2017 and early 2018.
USN officials have previously said Triton will come equipped with a Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Both TCAS and ADS-B are transponder-based systems that require other aircraft to have such systems so that they can «see» and avoid one another.
Though neither TCAS nor ADS-B meets the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) requirements for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sense-and-avoid on its own, the USN and the FAA are working with other international regulatory bodies to develop a plan whereby they can be used in conjunction.
Previously known as the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS), the Triton is a derivative of Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk being developed to provide the USN with persistent maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) as a companion to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon manned maritime surveillance aircraft. It will operate in US national airspace, as well as international, foreign, civil, and military airspace.
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) 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 nautical 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/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
Payload (360-degree Field of Regard)
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: 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/15,186 km
Maximum Altitude: 56,500 feet/17,220 m
Maximum Velocity: 331 knots True Air Speed (TAS)/ 381 mph/613 km/h
Maximum Endurance: 24 hours
MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system flies from Palmdale, California, to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland