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Triton completes initial envelope expansion testing

24th March 2014 - 15:29 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) under development by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy has completed its initial envelope expansion test programme, with the aircraft cleared to fly at a range of altitudes, speeds and weights.

The test programme has seen more than 568 test points validated during 13 flights, including several long-endurance flights totalling 81 hours at altitudes up to 59,950 feet.

The flights took place at the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California. The two test aircraft will now be ferried to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, where the test team will install and flight test the aircrafts' sensor suite to validate the capabilities of each payload.

Mike Mackey, Triton program director, Northrop Grumman, said: ‘As part of this effort, thousands of hours of simulated flight tests have been conducted in our laboratory. This is a valuable activity because we can review test points in simulated environments that leaves us with less needing to be cleared during actual flight tests. Not only does this save time, it also costs less money by flying only to ensure test points are cleared.’

Triton is being developed to carry a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor payloads to enable military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.

The US Navy plans to build 68 Triton UAS, which will be used with the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct persistent ISR missions across ocean and coastal regions.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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