The MQ-4C Triton: Poseidon’s Unmanned Herald
May 14/19: Rising Costs The MQ-4C Triton’s development cost grew 2% from FY 2018. It is now predicted that the UAVs will cost 61% more than initially estimated, Jane’sreports. The Triton is based on the Global Hawk UAS. It provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. The UAV will support a wide range of missions including maritime ISR patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue and communications relay. The aircraft can fly over 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles. The first flight of the Triton took place on May 22, 2013. According to the Government Accountability Office’s annual weapon system assessment, the current cost estimate for the Triton, in FY 2019 is $5.7 billion. The original estimate from 2009 was $3.5 billion. Reportedly, issues with wing production posed continued risk to the Triton’s production schedule, quality, and cost.
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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