Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Key radar tests begin on Triton

The Navy has launched flight tests on the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton of one of the first active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars with 360-degree coverage developed exclusively for the maritime patrol mission. The multifunction active sensor (MFAS) completed first flight onboard the unmanned MQ-4C on April 18 following risk reduction phase testing on a Gulfstream GII. "We're very confident the radar is going to work," said Sean Burke, the Navy MQ-4C program manager. Burke cited the 42 test flights on the GII as the source of the Navy’s confidence. The tests on the MQ-4C are critical to a Navy decision at the end of this year on whether to launch low-rate initial production of a Triton fleet, expected to number 70 aircraft. The unmanned Triton, the Navy's variant of a Global Hawk, is designed to augment the Navy's manned fleet of P-8A maritime patrol aircraft in broad area maritime surveillance missions. (Source: Flightglobal, 04/21/15) Gulf Coast note: Triton fuselage work is done by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss.