Northrop Triton UAS

The US Navy is seeking ideas on new air-to-air radar systems that could provide the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial system (UAS) with a sense and avoid (SAA) capability, which is needed to detect other aircraft and avoid collisions when flying in unrestricted airspace.

So far, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has been unsuccessful in developing SAA radar for the UAS.

The latest request for information (RFI), which envisions a modular, scalable design, coupled with an incremental development approach, comes a year after the termination of an Exelis-designed SAA system for the MQ-4C.

NAVAIR requires the new system to be capable of being equipped within the UAS’ defined size, weight and power (SWaP) constraints, in addition to being modular and scalable for application in other type / model / series (T/M/S) UAS.

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In addition, the new system must have the potential to operate in a wide range of natural, induced and air-traffic environments during the MQ-4C lifecycle, during all phases of flight.

"The Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C Triton UAS can fly at altitudes for over 10 miles."

The Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C Triton UAS can fly at altitudes for over 10 miles, covering a million square nautical miles of ocean.

Integrating a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads, it allows military commanders to collect high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets and deliver airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.

Last month, the US Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton UAS completed its maiden flight at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility in California, US.

Image: The US Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton UAS. Photo: courtesy of the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Defence Technology