MQ-4C Tri­ton im­proves mis­sion ca­pa­bil­ity


The US Navy’s MQ-4C Tri­ton, built by Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion, com­pleted for­mal lab testing and a suc­cess­ful first flight of an im­proved soft­ware suite that en­hances the au­tonomous un­manned sys­tem’s op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties and en­ables early op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity (EOC) de­ploy­ment in early 2018.

The Navy con­ducted the first flight test of the soft­ware up­grade which is de­signed to en­hance Tri­ton’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing Traf­fic Alert and Col­li­sion Avoidance Sys­tem (TCAS), multi-air­craft con­trol and ad­di­tional Multi-Func­tion Ac­tive Sen­sor (MFAS) radar modes.

“The in­te­gra­tion of this en­hanced soft­ware suite ex­pands Tri­ton’s op­er­a­tional mar­itime in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance, re­con­nais­sance, and tar­get­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and moves it that much closer to qual­i­fi­ca­tion for op­er­a­tional mis­sions in the Pa­cific the­ater,” said Doug Shaf­fer, Vice Pres­i­dent, Tri­ton Pro­grams, Northrop Grum­man. “These flight tests fur­ther demon­strate the value and vast po­ten­tial of this sys­tem.”

US Navy’s MQ-4C Tri­ton is a for­ward­de­ployed, land-based, au­tonomously op­er­ated sys­tem that pro­vides a per­sis­tent mar­itime ISR ca­pa­bil­ity us­ing a multi-sen­sor mis­sion pay­load (radar, elec­tro-op­ti­cal/ in­frared/elec­tronic sup­port mea­sures). The MQ-4C Tri­ton pro­vides real-time in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance in­clud­ing ves­sel de­tec­tion, track­ing and clas­si­fi­ca­tion over vast ocean and coastal re­gions. Its ro­bust mis­sion sen­sor suite pro­vides un­prece­dented per­sis­tent 360-de­gree mar­itime do­main aware­ness. The air­craft can fly up to 24 hours at al­ti­tudes of up to 56,500 feet with an op­er­a­tional range of 8,200 nau­ti­cal miles and can mon­i­tor one mil­lion square miles of ocean in a sin­gle flight.

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