The US Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has successfully completed its maiden flight at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility in California, US, ahead of its flight to a navy facility in Maryland later this month.
As part of the programme, a flight test team from Northrop, together with the navy, executed the MQ-4C’s 6.7-hour flight.
Northrop Grumman Triton programme director Mike Mackey said: "Our team worked incredibly hard to get the second Triton ready for first flight, which will help us plan its ferry flight to [the] Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
"We’re eager to continue working with the navy during the next phase of Triton’s flight test programme to speed up its availability to the warfighter."
In a bid to make the UAS capable of conducting a safe ferry flight, it will undergo a range of ground checks and inspections.
Triton can fly at altitudes for more than 10 miles, covering a million square nautical miles of ocean.
Featuring a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads, it enables military commanders to accumulate high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets and deliver airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.
The navy is reportedly constructing 68 Triton systems for deployment with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. These will be used for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions across vast ocean and coastal regions.
Image: The US Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) built by Northrop Grumman. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.