Triton UAV wings demonstrate strength capabilities
The structural strength of the wings for the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been shown to exceed the navy’s requirements in demonstrations by Northrop Grumman and Triumph Aerostructures.
According to Northrop Grumman, a team of engineers found that no failures or unacceptable deformations of the wing occurred when it was subjected to a load at 22 percent above the navy's requirement. This strength will be key to the Triton aircraft’s ability to descend from high altitudes to make positive identification of targets of interest during surveillance missions.
Additional steps needed to certify the wing's life span include flight tests at various weights placed within the wing that simulate various fuel loads and a fatigue test of the entire airframe that will begin in 2017.
Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's Triton UAS program director, said: ‘During surveillance missions using Triton, navy operators may spot a target of interest and order the aircraft to a lower altitude to make positive identification. The wing's strength allows the aircraft to safely descend, sometimes through weather patterns, to complete this manoeuvre.’
The MQ-4C Triton will provide long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to navy commanders as a complement to the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Triumph Aerostructures is supplying the wings for Triton to Northrop Grumman.
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