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MQ-4C Triton makes maiden IFC-4 test flight

30th July 2021 - 17:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The upgraded MQ-4C Triton UAV ICF-4 takes flight (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman meets 'hugely important milestone' for USN MQ-4C Triton programme.

Northrop Grumman has announced that the company's MQ-4C Triton HALE UAV has taken flight for the first time in test conditions using a multi-intelligence configuration dubbed Integrated Functional Capability Four (IFC-4). 

Despite the announcement not making any mention of what was achieved during the flight, Northrop referred to it as a 'hugely important milestone'. 

The multi-intelligence Triton features a 360-degree AESA maritime radar, full-motion EO/IR video streaming and  full-spectrum HALE signals intelligence capabilities with the USN expected to declare IOC for the upgraded aircraft in 2023. 

Additionally, Northrop Grumman notes that the multi-intelligence configuration will enable the USN to retire the EP-3E Aries as Triton assumes responsibility for intelligence collection missions.

The USN is expected to maintain five 24/7 operational orbits using Triton and has committed to a 68-aircraft programme of record. 

FY2022 budget documents show that the US DoD has requested a one-year production gap for Triton in FY2022, with recommencement in FY2023. 

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