PATUXENT RIVER, Md., June 23 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial system has demonstrated new communications and flight capabilities in U.S. Navy testing.
In a flight test earlier this month, an MQ-4C successfully exchanged full motion video with a distant P-8A Poseidon aircraft while in flight using a Common Data Link, said U.S. Naval Air Systems Command.
The test demonstrated Triton's interoperability and capability to track a target with its electro-optical/infrared camera to build situational awareness for P-8 aircrew.
"In an operational environment, this would enable the P-8 aircrew to become familiar with a contact of interest and surrounding vessels well in advance of the aircraft's arrival in station" said Cmdr. Daniel Papp, Triton integrated program team lead.
The MQ-4C Triton can perform persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance within a range of 2,000 nautical miles.
Triton also has conducted its first heavyweight flight to expand its time on station. In a test, The UAS operated in the 20,000-foot altitude band in the heavy weight configuration for the first time and in a second heavyweight flight operated in the 30,000-foot altitude band.
"The heavy weight envelope expansion work will enable Triton to realize its long-dwell capability and become the unblinking eye for the fleet," Papp said.
Triton is scheduled for deployment with the Navy in 2018. It can fly missions of much as 24 hours in duration and monitor 2 million square miles of ocean and littoral areas at a time.