The American fleet is officially armed with long-range aerial reconnaissance drones. On the 11th of November, 2017, defenseworld.net reported that Northrop Grumman Company had transferred the first serial model of the MQ-4C Triton drone to the US Navy.
MQ-4C Triton Drones on trial tests
Until that day, the US Navy had at its disposal only manned means of long-range aerial reconnaissance. In 2008, the US Ministry of Defense and Northrop Grumman signed a long-term contract worth $ 1.164 billion for the development and construction of special drones that could replace manned reconnaissance aircraft. And already in 2012, the developers gave the Navy command the first prototype of the MQ-4C Triton UAV.
The unmanned vehicle MQ-4C Triton made its first flight in October 2014, and two years later the US Navy ordered the first batch of these vehicles. In May 2017 it became known that the US military command paid for the production of three more machines, as well as ground equipment for them. The transaction value is estimated at 303.9 million US dollars.
The first “Triton” will be based on the military facility “Point Mag” (California). Until the end of this year, the military will receive a second serial copy of MQ-4C Triton, and in 2018 two more “Triton” should be deployed on the island of Guam.
“This drone is the beginning of a new era for naval aviation. “Triton” is an unmanned system such as HALE (high-altitude, long-endurance), which provides a critically important autonomy for the Navy, extending the capabilities of maritime patrolling.
MQ-4C Triton is a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle with a long duration of flight, intended for gathering information, surveillance and reconnaissance in the coastal zone. Triton is built on the basis of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, also developed by Northrop Grumman, can climb to a height of over 17 km, fly at a speed of 575 km / h and stay in the air for up to 24 hours. The reconnaissance equipment of the new drone includes multifunctional radar, a video camera, electro-optical / infrared sensors, radio reconnaissance, an automatic identification system (AIS) and relay equipment. This equipment allows the device to detect and automatically classify various types of surface objects.