SAN DIEGO, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman are evaluating the company's Triton unmanned aerial vehicle.
In September the U.S. Navy began field trials of a second Northrop Grumman Triton UAV as part of its evaluation program prior to the aircraft being certified for flight operations.
"Ground testing signifies our steady progress toward conducting Triton's first flight," said Steve Enewold, Northrop Grumman vice president and Triton program manager.
"Through numerous engine runs and checks with communications systems between the aircraft and ground controllers, we can ensure that everything is working properly before entering taxi testing as the next step in our efforts."
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor to the U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program.
Four years ago, Northrop Grumman received a systems development and demonstration contract from the United States to build two UAVs and test them in preparation for operational missions scheduled for late 2015.
The Navy contract projects that 68 UAVs will be built should tests prove successful.