Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman delivered the first operational MQ-4C Trition aircraft to the U.S. Navy facility at Point Mugu, the company said in a press statement on Friday.
Northrop Grumman in April received $19.9 million for engineering and analysis of obsolescence issues with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle.
In May, the company received an additional $49.4 million contract for parts, material and labor required for the maintenance of the MQ-4C unmanned aircraft system in accordance with planned production.
"This aircraft represents the beginning of a new era for Naval aviation," said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. "Triton is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned system that delivers a critical autonomous capability to the Navy, expanding the service's maritime patrol mission. We are proud to be a part of this historic program."
The MQ-4C Triton is a derivative of the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance UAV and is designed as a sensor platform for long-range and high-endurance surveillance missions over ocean and coastal areas.
It has a range of over 9,000 miles and can stay aloft for over 24 hours before refueling. The Triton mounts maritime radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, communications relays and electronic support measures systems.
Once operational, it will serve alongside the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft as the Navy's primary long-range aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. The Navy plans to purchase 68 Tritons as part of its UAV fleet.
Northrop Grumman said they will deliver the second operational Triton aircraft later this year.