UAS sensor development moves forward

Sept. 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman has conducted more than 25 risk-reduction tests on the primary surveillance sensor for the U.S. Navy's Triton unmanned aircraft system.

The tests, in preparation for installation of the Multi-Function Active Sensor onto the UAS, involved the use of a Gulfstream II surrogate aircraft and took place off the California coast.

"Surrogate flights have allowed us to mature the MFAS radar's capabilities and merge the data with information received from other sensors and equipment that will also be used on Triton," said Mike Mackey, Triton UAS program director with Northrop Grumman. "By gathering this information in real and simulated environments, we can refine how an operator sees data while tasking the system in flight."

The MFAS, which provides a 360-degree view, is an active, electronically and mechanically scanned array radar that combines electronic scanning with a mechanical rotation.

The Navy plans to acquire 68 Triton UAS to replace aging patrol aircraft. The unmanned systems equipped with the MFAS and other sensors will be able to monitor areas of as much as 2,000 nautical miles at a time.

Northrop Grumman is on contract to develop the MFAS through 2016.

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