US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton UAS cleared for low-rate production

U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was authorized for low-rate initial production approval following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review.

This decision marks the beginning of the production and deployment phase of the U.S Department of Defense acquisition process.

An integrated test team made up of Navy personnel from air test and evaluation squadrons VX-1 and VX-20, unmanned patrol squadron, VUP-19 and Northrop Grumman demonstrated the reliability of Triton going into Milestone C on September 22.

The team analyzed and validated sensor imagery and performance at different altitudes and ranges. The aircraft system’s ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined as part of the OA testing. Successful evaluation of Triton’s time on station confirmed that it was capable of meeting flight duration requirements.

Triton also transferred full motion video to a P-8A Poseidon in flight, proving a key capability to significantly enhance its ability to detect, track, classify and identify maritime threats.

The MQ-4C Triton will be a forward- deployed, land-based, autonomously operated system that provides intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) within a range of 2,000 nautical miles using a multi-sensor mission payload including maritime radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and basic communications relay.

“Triton’s critical technology is mature, and the system development and design review phases have been successful,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. “Completion of the full system operational assessment (OA) testing exercised in various real-world scenarios validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving threats. We are extremely pleased with the maritime domain awareness products and results coming from Triton.”