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The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, has completed formal lab testing and a successful first flight of an improved software suite that will enhance the UAS’s operational capabilities and enable Early Operational Capability (EOC) deployment in early 2018.

According to the company’s press release, 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.   

Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman: “Integrating the enhanced software suite now expands our operational maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting capabilities and moves us closer to qualification for operational missions in the pacific. These flight tests further demonstrate the value and vast potential of this system”.

The Navy’s MQ-4C Triton is a forward-deployed, land-based, autonomously operated system that provides a persistent maritime ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability using a multi-sensor mission payload (radar, electro-optical / infra-red / electronic support measures).

The MQ-4C Triton’s real-time ISR includes 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 1 million square miles of ocean in a single flight.