Triton Completes Operational Checkout

The Navy’s MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft recently completed its operational assessment ahead of the low-rate initial production decision planned for this spring, manufacturer Northrop Grumman announced. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) version of the Global Hawk flew “several flights, which exercised the weapon system through operationally relevant scenarios,” said Doug Shaffer, company vice president for Triton programs. The final evaluation of Triton’s ability to conduct its main missions, including surveillance, surface and amphibious warfare support, strategic, humanitarian, and civil-support roles began last November. Testers at NAS Patuxent River, Md., evaluated the MQ-4C’s sensors and ability to identify targets over the course of 60 flying hours, and proved its ability to meet the Navy’s endurance requirements. Three MQ-4Cs are slated for delivery this year, and the Navy plans to eventually operate a total of 68 Tritons, with initial operational capability planned for 2017.