The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) built for the U.S. Navy by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has successfully completed Operational Assessment (OA). Pending final data analysis, the completion of this milestone signals the maturity of the system and paves the way for a positive Milestone C decision. Milestone C will transition Triton into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).
As part of OA, an integrated test team made up of U.S. Navy personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons VX-1 and VX-20, Unmanned Patrol Squadron, VUP-19 and Northrop Grumman demonstrated the reliability of Triton over the course of approximately 60 flight hours. The team analyzed sensor imagery and validated radar performance of Triton’s sensors at different altitudes and ranges. The aircraft system’s ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined as part of the operational effectiveness and suitability testing. Successful evaluation of Triton’s time on station confirmed that it will meet flight duration requirements.
«Operational assessment for Triton included several flights which exercised the weapon system through operationally relevant scenarios that demonstrated its readiness to meet the U.S. Navy’s maritime Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (IRS) needs», said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «As a result of the flight tests, the program moves one step closer to a milestone C decision later this spring».
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
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 (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|