The MQ-4C Triton: Poseidon’s Unmanned Herald
October 23/19: IFC 4.0 Northrop Grumman Systems won a $18.3 million contract modification for the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System. This order procures material kits and retrofit labor to incorporate the Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) 4.0 configuration into one retrofit ground segment and fully fund the IFC 4.0 retrofit install labor for aircraft B10. Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C UAS provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. The UAV is designed to perform continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The Triton IFC 4.0 project seeks to upgrade the Triton UAV with multi-intelligence capabilities that include SIGINT, such that Triton IFC 4.0 UAVs could replace the Navy’s fleet of EP-3 aircraft. The EP-3 aircraft are based on the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion four-engine turboprop airframe. Work under the contract modification is expected to be complete by February, 2021.
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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