Military Embedded Systems

Triton UAS completes first major milestone; Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy clear for flight


March 26, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have completed the first Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) major milestone of the test program, and have cleared the UAS to fly at various altitudes, speeds, and weights.

The test team validated more than 568 test points during the initial envelope expansion test program, which took place at Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, CA. During this effort, 13 flights were conducted – including several long-endurance flights at altitudes up to 59,950 feet, totaling 81 flight hours.

“We're now working to fly the second test aircraft and then prepare to ferry both aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River,” says Capt. James Hoke, Triton Program Manager with Naval Air Systems Command. Once both Triton test aircraft reach Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, the test team will install and test the aircrafts' sensor suite to validate the capabilities of each payload.

Triton carries a variety of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensor payloads, which allow military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances, and also use radar to detect targets.

The U.S. Navy plans to build 68 Triton UASs, which will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct persistent ISR missions across vast ocean and coastal regions.

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