Northrop Grumman says it has completed the first stage of flight testing of the US Navy’s new MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance system.
The first stage involved envelope expansion and validating work, and was conducted out of Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility in California. A second aircraft is due to fly soon, and both aircraft will soon ferry to NAS Patuxent River on the east coast to continue the test work.
“Following Triton’s first flight in May, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of test flights and test points being accomplished,” Capt James Hoke, Triton program manager with NAVAIR said in a statement. “We’re now working to fly the second test aircraft and then prepare to ferry both aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River.”
After the aircraft arrive at Pax River, they will be fitted with their sensor suites before they commence work validating the capabilities of their comprehensive payloads.
The US Navy has a requirement for 68 Tritons, and the Australian government has signalled it will order an unspecified number of Tritons once the 2015 Defence White Paper has been published.