Northrop Grumman recently won a modification contract involving MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, has offered the award. Valued at $20.5 million, the contract is estimated to be completed by April 2023. Per the terms, Northrop will provide additional labor and material to incorporate production engineering change proposals for modifying MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system production assets. A major portion of the work related to this deal will be carried out in San Diego and Palmdale, CA. Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton UAS supports real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over vast oceans and coastal regions.
Triton’s autonomous operations are supported by land-based command and control mission planners and sensor operators. It also has a unique and robust mission sensor suite that excels in offering 360-degree coverage on all sensors, providing unprecedented maritime domain awareness for the U.S. Navy. Built for the U.S. Navy, Triton is well-suited for any military missions, including maritime ISR patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue and communications relay. Triton has the capability to fly more than 24 hours at a time at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles. Considering the underlying strength of Triton MQ-4C UAS amid the rising geopolitical tension, the demand for such jets is likely to be northward bound.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is an American high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under development for the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft. Together with its associated ground control station, it is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Triton builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk; changes include reinforcements to the air frame and wing, de-icing systems, and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The sensor suites allow ships to be tracked by gathering information on their speed, location, and classification. The MQ-4C System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft was delivered in 2012 and the MQ-4C was expected to be operational by late 2015 with a total of 67 aircraft to be procured. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the MQ-4C was achieved in 2018 with Full Operating Capability (FOC) planned in 2023.