Northrop Grum­man, US Navy com­plete nine flights of Tri­ton UAS


Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion and the US Navy have com­pleted nine ini­tial flight tests of the Tri­ton un­manned air­craft sys­tem (UAS), mark­ing the half-way point in a process called en­ve­lope ex­pan­sion. Dur­ing en­ve­lope ex­pan­sion, the test team val­i­dates the air­craft’s abil­ity to op­er­ate at a range of al­ti­tudes, speeds and weights. The flights are tak­ing place at the com­pany’s man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Palm­dale, Cal­i­for­nia.

“Com­ple­tion of en­ve­lope ex­pan­sion will al­low the test team to pre­pare for in­stal­la­tion and fur­ther testing of Tri­ton’s sur­veil­lance sen­sors,” said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grum­man’s Tri­ton Pro­gram Di­rec­tor.

The Tri­ton test team ac­com­plished en­durance flights up to 9.4 hours at al­ti­tudes up to 50,000 feet. The air­craft also per­formed dou­blets, a ma­noeu­vre that tests the air­craft’s abil­ity to re­cover from small per­tur­ba­tions in its flight path caused by turbulence.

Tri­ton car­ries a va­ri­ety of in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance sen­sor pay­loads that al­low 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 Navy plans to field 68 Tri­ton UAS and will be used with the manned P-8 Po­sei­don mar­itime pa­trol air­craft to con­duct sur­veil­lance mis­sions.

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