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The U.S. Navy is working with Northrop Grumman to run tests and maintenance services on the MQ-4C Triton drone, mission control and operator training systems – to prepare the unmanned aerial system for its initial deployment next year.  

According to, the aircraft’s first deployment will include autonomous maritime surveillance operations from land-based command facilities. The maintenance and testing services will include procuring field service representatives’ technical support to ensure that the new system is capable of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions once deployed, according to a Department of Defense contract release.

The idea is to configure a maritime-specific drone technology to compliment marine patrol missions; the Triton operates a 360-degree sensor suite that allows for nearly real-time video, long-endurance surveillance, and tactical support for operational commanders.  This allows for the system to be capable of capturing full motion video for surveillance purposes.

The drone flies at an altitude of over 15 kilometers and has a radar that can monitor 480 nautical kilometers at a time.

According to the DoD release, Northrop Grumman was awarded a $66,312,606 dollar contract for test and maintenance services that will sustain these systems.