The MQ-4C Triton: Poseidon’s Unmanned Herald
March 13/19: Sustainment and Engineering Services The US Navy contracted Northrop Grumman Systems $89.5 million in support of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The deal provides for sustainment and engineering services. The Triton is a high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle that together with its associated ground control station is considered a UAS. The system provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over ocean and coastal regions as well as continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions. They complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The drone can descend and ascend through harsh maritime weather environments in order of gaining a closer view of ships an other targets at sea. Last year the Navy announced plans to deploy Triton drones to Guam to assist with Surveillance in the South China Sea. The South China Sea is one of the most contested geopolitical regions on Earth. The current contract procures the technical expertise of field service representatives, logisticians and test support to ensure MQ-4C air vehicles and mission control and operator training systems are fully sustained and mission capable. Work under the deal will take place within the US as well as at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and is expected to be finished by March next year.
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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