Triton on first flight Wednesday. Navy photo courtesy Northrop Grumman
PALMDALE, Calif. -- The Navy's MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft today completed its first flight from Palmdale, Calif. The flight marks the start of tests that will validate the Northrop Grumman-built system for fleet operations. During the 80-minute flight, the Triton, controlled by ground-based personnel, reached an altitude of 20,000 feet. Triton will provide persistent maritime and littoral data collection and dissemination in the Navy’s Asia and Pacific regions. The Triton, an adjunct to the manned P-8A Poseidon, will fly missions for 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing the monitoring of 2,000 nautical miles of ocean and littoral areas at a time. Flight tests will continue in California for the next several months before the team transitions the aircraft to Patuxent River, Md., in the fall. The MQ-4C Triton UAS will be based at five locations around the globe. (Source: NNS, 05/22/13) Gulf Coast note: Central fuselage work on Tritons is done in Moss Point, Miss.