Navy Triton tested in California. Northrop Grumman photo
The Triton unmanned aircraft system has completed nine initial flight tests, the half-way point in a process called envelope expansion. During envelope expansion, the Northrop Grumman and Navy test team validates the aircraft's ability to operate at a range of altitudes, speeds and weights. The Triton test team accomplished endurance flights up to 9.4 hours at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft also performed doublets, a maneuver that tests the aircraft's ability to recover from small perturbations in its flight path caused by turbulence. The flights are taking place at the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. Completion of envelope expansion will allow the test team to prepare for installation and further testing of Triton's surveillance sensors. The Navy plans to field 68 Tritons. (Source: Northrop Grumman, 01/06/14) Gulf Coast note: Central fuselage work on the Triton is done in Moss Point, Miss.