The MQ-4C Triton: Poseidon’s Unmanned Herald
May 31/19: Three more Northrop Grumman Systems won $65.2 million to deliver three Triton UAVs. The company is building the MQ-4C Triton to fly maritime surveillance missions as long as 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles to enable coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. The UAV’s suite of sensors can detect and classify different types of ships automatically. The Triton is planned to be an important component of the Navy’s 21st century strategy for conducting surveillance of surface ship and submarine traffic in the vast Pacific and other oceans. The Triton UAV will work together with the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft. The contract is for the Navy and the government of Australia and also provides equipment and associated materials for three ground stations. Northrop will perform work within the US and scheduled completion date is in June 2020.
The world’s P-3 Orion fleets have served for a long time, and many are reaching the end of their lifespans. In the USA, and possibly beyond, the new P-8 Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft will take up the P-3’s role. While the P-8’s base 737-based airframe offers strong service & maintenance arguments in its favor, the airframe is expensive enough that the P-3s cannot be replaced on a 1:1 basis.
In order to extend the P-8 fleet’s reach, and provide additional capabilities, the Poseidon was expected to work with at least one companion UAV platform. This DID FOCUS Article explains the winning BAMS (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance) concept, the program’s key requirements, and its international angle. We’ll also cover ongoing contracts and key events related to the program, which chose Northrop Grumman’s navalized MQ-4C Triton Global Hawk variant.
Next-Gen Maritime Patrol Systems: Issues and Options
BAMS: Requirements and Missions
BAMS: The MQ-4C Triton
BAMS: The Program
BAMS: The International Angle
BAMS: Contracts & Key Events
FY 2016 – 2019
FY 2012 – 2013
FY 2010 – 2011
FY 2008 – 2009
FY 2007 and Earlier
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: BAMS/ Triton and Key Ancillaries
News & Views
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