MQ-4C Triton in new navy testing
During recent US Navy testing, Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton UAS demonstrated two new communications and flight capabilities, the navy announced on 23 June.
While in flight, the UAS successfully exchanged full motion video with a P-8 Poseidon aircraft using a Common Data Link. This capability will give future fleet operations the option for Triton to track a target with its electro-optical/infrared camera in order to build situational awareness for a distant P-8 aircrew. This will allow the MQ-4C to conduct persitent ISR while the P-8 focuses on its core mission.
Cmdr Daniel Papp, Triton integrated program team lead, said: ‘In an operational environment, this would enable the P-8 aircrew to become familiar with a contact of interest and surrounding vessels well in advance of the aircraft's arrival in station.’
The UAS also conducted its first heavy weight flight in June, as part of work to expand the aircraft's time on station. In the test, the UAS operated in a heavy weight configuration in the 20,000ft altitude band. A second heavyweight flight two weeks later saw it successfully operate in the 30,000ft altitude band.
The MQ-4C Triton is scheduled to be deployed by the US Navy in 2018. It can fly missions of up to 24 hours and monitor two million square miles of ocean and littoral areas at a time.
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