Military Embedded Systems

MQ-4C Triton undergoes first flight equipped with new sensor system


August 02, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Northrop Grumman photo.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. A Northrop Grumman Corporation-built MQ-4C Triton was flown for the first time in the upgraded multi-intelligence configuration known as integrated functional capability four (IFC-4). Triton is the U.S. Navy’s high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE), maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform.

According to the company, Northrop Grumman is working with the Navy to progress Triton toward initial operating capability (IOC) and worldwide deployment. The multi-intelligence configuration will also aim to enable the Navy to retire the EP-3E Aries as Triton will be able to assume the intelligence collection missions currently conducted by the Aries.

Officials claim the U.S. Navy is currently operating two Tritons in the Pacific region in the baseline configuration as part of an early operational capability deployment. The Triton program expects to achieve IOC in 2023, and the Navy will eventually maintain five 24/7 operational orbits with a planned 68-aircraft program of record.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance systems perform wide-area ISR collection. Autonomous HALE systems are in operation across the globe collecting ISR data over land and sea to enable rapid, informed decision-making. In the future, these systems will be intended to connect the joint force.


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