The U.S. Navy has conducted its first test flight of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system in the new Integrated Functional Capability-4 configuration at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The surveillance aircraft demonstrated its stability and control following a 30-month multi-mission sensor upgrade process, NAVAIR Thursday.
Present at the functional check flight and initial aeromechanical test points at Maryland was the Triton Integrated Test Team, which consists of representatives from the Navy, the U.S. government and industry sectors, and Australian partner organizations.
The Navy plans to reach the initial operational capability milestone for the upgraded aircraft in 2023 as part of its Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Targeting transition plan.
Capt. Dan Mackin, the naval program manager for persistent maritime UAS, noted that Tritons would "continue to provide unprecedented maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities which are especially critical to national interests with the increased focus in the Pacific."
The Navy plans to deploy the Northrop Grumman-developed long-endurance ISR drones to five orbits around the world.