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Northrop Grumman UAS completes operational assessment

Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton moves closer to Milestone C production decision.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Feb. 17, 2016 at 1:42 PM
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PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system has successfully completed an operational assessment conducted by the company and U.S. Navy teams.

Final data analysis of the tests must still be done, but successful completion of the OA tests signals the maturity of the MQ-4C system and paves the way for a positive Milestone C decision, which will result in low-rate initial production of the aircraft.

Northrop Grumman said the tests took place over 60 flight hours. Company and Navy teams analyzed sensor imagery and validated radar performance of Triton's sensors at different altitudes and ranges, and the aircraft system's ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined.

"Operational assessment for Triton included several flights which exercised the weapon system through operationally relevant scenarios that demonstrated its readiness to meet the Navy's maritime intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance needs," said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. "As a result of the flight tests, the program moves one step closer to a milestone C decision later this spring."

The Triton is a surveillance aircraft wit a maximum speed of 357 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 60,000 feet and an endurance time of 24 hours,

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