SAN DIEGO, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- An unmanned aerial vehicle demonstrator is being built by Northrop Grumman for at-sea surveillance under the U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Triton program.
Triton provides a detailed picture of surface vessels to identify threats across vast areas of ocean and littoral areas and complements many manned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
"The aircraft will initially be used to further testing efforts for the Navy as we prepare Triton to be operational in late 2015," said Steve Enewold, Northrop Grumman's vice president and program manager for Triton.
"Eventually, we will use the aircraft as a test bed to improve system performance, incorporate new intelligence-gathering capabilities and conduct demonstrations."
Northrop is building the design and demonstrator using its own funding.
The company said the aircraft's wing sections have already been joined to the aircraft's fuselage and that the aircraft will be outfitted with the same intelligence-gathering sensors and communications suite as the Navy's Triton program.