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21 septembre 2015 1 21 /09 /septembre /2015 07:50
MQ-4C Triton photo US Navy

MQ-4C Triton photo US Navy


15 September, 2015 BY: Beth Stevenson - FG


London - Ahead of the release of the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) next month, Northrop Grumman remains hopeful that the nation’s maritime patrol capability gap can be filled with its MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned air vehicle.


This is not the first time that Northrop has expressed interest in the UK as a customer for the Triton, and it is eagerly awaiting the review in the expectation that it will address the shortfall in maritime surveillance. “SDSR is ongoing and we’re watching that very closely. We’re hoping that they’ll get a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) out of it,” says Drew Flood, Triton programme executive for Europe at Northrop. The UK appears to favour the acquisition of the manned Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft, and Northrop hopes that it will follow the lead of the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force in supplementing that platform with the MQ-4C.


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25 février 2015 3 25 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Flight Ready: Atlantic Test Ranges Flight Test Support


24 févr. 2015 NAVAIRSYSCOM


Check out this behind-the-scenes look at what happens when the Navy's newest surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle flies across the country for the first time. Learn more about the MQ-4C Triton test program, how the team prepared the air vehicle for flight and the innovative support solutions provided by Atlantic Test Ranges.

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20 septembre 2014 6 20 /09 /septembre /2014 07:20
MQ4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System Completes First Cross-Country Flight

19 sept. 2014 All Hands Update

The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System completes its first cross-country flight.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 06:50
photo Alan Radecki Northrop Grumman

photo Alan Radecki Northrop Grumman

If the British government decides to rebuild its maritime patrol capabilities it may consider an acquisition of the Triton, a maritime version of the Global Hawk UAV. (Northrop Grumman)


Apr. 7, 2014 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News


LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is dispatching a team to train on Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton UAV in the run-up to a possible decision next year on whether to re-establish a maritime patrol capability.


Responding to a parliamentary question April 3, the government said that four personnel are “scheduled to train on the MQ-4C Triton during June and August, 2014.”


The Triton is a maritime version of the Global Hawk remotely piloted surveillance vehicle. The high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft is in its flight-test phase ahead of deliveries to the US Navy.


The British government said the team will be trained at the US Navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said on a number of occasions that unmanned aircraft could meet at least part of the requirement for a future maritime patrol aircraft capability if the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) resurrects the requirements.


The government controversially axed Britain’s maritime patrol aircraft capability as part of a budget-cutting exercise in the 2010 SDSR when BAE Systems’ long-delayed and over-budget Nimrod MRA4 program was canceled before the aircraft entered service.


Two demonstration versions of the Triton are scheduled to be delivered to Patuxent River in the next few weeks, having last month completed initial flight testing.


Triton has already been ordered by the US Navy to operate alongside Boeing P-8 Poseidon MPAs. Australia has also said it intends to buy the machine to work with the P-8s it has on order.


Northrop displayed a mock-up of the high-altitude Triton at a Royal Air Force show at its Waddington, England, base last year.


The British parliamentary answer also revealed that 20 personnel have been embedded with US Navy P-8 operations as part of a program to retain crew skills until a decision is made on whether to recreate a maritime patrol capability.


The program, known as Seedcorn, has also seen smaller numbers of personnel embedded with Australian, Canadian and New Zealand maritime patrol forces.


An MoD spokeswoman declined to elaborate on why the British personnel were being trained on Triton, but said it is part of a wider effort to develop capabilities.


“The Seedcorn program provides a valuable opportunity to UK personnel for training, specialization and exposure within the maritime environment while working with our allies to develop our capabilities. Triton forms only one element of this program and only a small, select number of UK personnel are involved in work, which operates from Patuxent River,” the spokeswoman said.


Representatives from Northrop declined to comment

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 12:20
MQ-4C Triton photo Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C Triton photo Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman


24.03.2014 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Northrop Grumman et l’US Navy ont achevé la première phase d’essais du drone HALE MQ-4C Triton le 13 mars dernier. Celle-ci était notamment centrée sur l’ouverture de l’enveloppe de vol. Au total, le drone a effectué 13 vols, afin de valider près de 570 points d’essais.


Northrop Grumman précise que le Triton a par ailleurs atteint l’altitude 59 950 pieds.


Le second exemplaire du MQ-4C devrait effectuer son vol inaugural prochainement. En attendant, les deux appareils vont être transférés de Palmdale à la base aéronavale de Patuxent River, en Californie, avec quelques mois de retard.


L’US Navy prévoit d’obtenir 68 exemplaires du drone HALE, en complément des P-8A Poseidon déployés pour les missions ISR, de patrouille et de surveillance maritime. Le premier MQ-4C avait effectué son tout premier vol en mai 2013.

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17 mars 2014 1 17 /03 /mars /2014 16:35
 AUS: Triton Acquisition Announced

17 March 2014 Pacific Sentinel

The Prime Minister of Australia The Honourable Tony Abbott MP visited RAAF Base Edinburgh recently to announce the Government has committed to the acquisition of the Triton Unmanned Aircaft System (UAS), subject to the successful completion of the US Navy development programme currently under way.


The MQ-4C Triton UAS is an unarmed maritime variant of Northrop-Grumman’s Global Hawk. The aircraft will be based and piloted from RAAF Base Edinburgh and capable of supporting missions of greater than 24 hours while covering an area of over one million square nautical miles; an area larger than Western Australia Triton will patrol Australia’s vast ocean approaches, protecting offshore resources, supporting other Australian Defence Force assets and helping to secure our borders. Triton is purpose-built for the maritime environment, and includes a strengthened airframe, de-icing capability, hail and bird-strike protection, and has sealed avionics and sensor compartments and environmental countermeasures to enable all-weather operations. The Triton has been under development by the United States Navy (USN) since 2008 and is scheduled to achieve Initial Operational Capability with the USN in 2017. The total number of Triton aircraft to be acquired by Australia and their introduction into service date will be further considered by Government in 2016, based on the Defence White Paper.



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14 mars 2014 5 14 /03 /mars /2014 08:35
Australia committed to Triton UAV buy



CANBERRA, Australia, March 13 (UPI)


The Australian government will acquire Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle once its development is completed.


The commitment to purchase the aircraft, under development for the U.S. Navy, was made in a statement issued this week from the office of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.


The MQ-4C Triton is a maritime surveillance platform with a maximum speed of 357 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 60,000 feet and an endurance of 30 hours. It is intended to complement maritime patrol aircraft.


"These aircraft will patrol Australia's vast ocean approaches, and work closely with other existing and future Australian Defense Force assets to secure our ocean resources, including energy resources off northern Australia, and help to protect our borders," the Prime Minister's office said.


Acquisition of the aircraft and their ground stations will require about $125.5 million of new facilities and infrastructure. About $89.6 million would be invested in the state of South Australia, where the UAVs would be based.


The statement said the number of Triton UAVs to be procured would be decided in 2016.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
MQ-4C BAMS  photo Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C BAMS photo Northrop Grumman

Sept. 10, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Sept. 6, 2013)


Northrop Grumman Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $9,981,663 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-12-C-0117) for additional operations and maintenance services in support of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance - Demonstrator, Unmanned Aircraft System, also known as the Global Hawk Maritime - Demonstrator.


The services include manpower to increase BAMS-D operational tempo from the current nine maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions per month to a sustained level of 15 missions per month.


Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (70 percent), and outside continental United States (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2014. Fiscal 2013 operations and maintenance, Navy funds in the amount of $3,000,000 are being obligated on this award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.


The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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23 août 2013 5 23 /08 /août /2013 12:20
MQ-4C BAMS  photo Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C BAMS photo Northrop Grumman

August 21, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued August 21, 2013)


Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $27,599,424 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-12-C-0117) to exercise an option for additional operations and maintenance services in support of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator Unmanned Aircraft System.


Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (70 percent), and outside continental United States (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2014. Fiscal 2013 operations and maintenance, Navy contract funds in the amount of $27,599,424 will be obligated at the time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.


The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 07:20
Next-Generation Transponder Successfully Flies On Board Triton

Jun 13, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC


    System helps sense and avoid other aircraft


There’s a first time for everything, and our next-generation Identification Friend or Foe system reached a first – flying on board the MQ-4C Triton, a high altitude unmanned aircraft.


At half the size and weight of currently fielded transponders, our system, known as the AN/DPX-7 Reduced Size Transponder (RST), is designed to make flights safer. How? By providing both manned and unmanned systems with enhanced air traffic control information that improves situational awareness and allows for successful navigation.

ANDPX-7 Reduced Size Transponder (RST)

ANDPX-7 Reduced Size Transponder (RST)

“BAE Systems’ reduced size transponder advances the safety of the Triton – and other aircraft –because it helps sense and avoid other planes, enabling successful navigation through congested airspace,” said Sal Costa, product line director at BAE Systems in Greenlawn, N.Y. where the RST system is manufactured.


The MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman, is set to monitor vast ocean areas and coastal regions, and is designed to fly surveillance missions for up to 24-hours at altitudes over 10 miles, covering a span of 2,000 nautical miles.

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30 mai 2013 4 30 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight May 22 from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. The flight, which was about 1.5 hours, successfully demonstrated control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. Triton is specially designed to fly surveillance missions up to 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles, allowing coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. The system's advanced suite of sensors can detect and automatically classify different types of ships. (Northrop Grumman photo by Bob Brown)

The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight May 22 from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. The flight, which was about 1.5 hours, successfully demonstrated control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. Triton is specially designed to fly surveillance missions up to 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles, allowing coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. The system's advanced suite of sensors can detect and automatically classify different types of ships. (Northrop Grumman photo by Bob Brown)

30.05.2013 Info-Aviation


Le drone de surveillance maritime MQ-4C Triton a effectué son premier vol avec succès le 22 mai depuis l’usine de fabrication de Northrop Grumman à Palmdale en Californie.


Le Triton est un drone HALE (Haute Altitude Longue Endurance), dérivé du Global Hawk, spécialement conçu pour effectuer des missions de surveillance maritime et côtière jusqu’à 24 heures à des altitudes de plus de 10 miles (16 km). Il peut surveiller une zone océanique de 2.000 miles nautiques (3700 km) grâce à un système de capteurs permettant de détecter et classifier automatiquement les différents types de navires.


Le vol a débuté à 7h10 de Palmdale (Floride) et a duré 1 heure et demi, mené conjointement par une équipe d’essais de l’US Navy et de Northrop Grumman


Des essais en vol supplémentaires auront lieu à la base de Palmdale avant de faire de transférer le Triton à la base aéronavale de Patuxent River (Maryland) plus tard dans l’année.


Le programme Triton a démarré en 2008 chez Northrop Grumman en vu de construire deux avions et de les tester pour des missions opérationnelles. L’US Navy souhaite acquérir 68 Triton dans le cadre du programme Broad Area Maritime Surveillance.


Le Triton comporte une variété de charges utiles comme des capteurs ISR permettant de recueillir des images à haute résolution, un radar pour détecter des cibles, des communications aériennes et des capacités de partage de l’information à des unités militaires sur de longues distances.


Avec près de 40 mètres d’envergure, le Triton affiche une taille supérieure à celle d’un Boeing 737. Il peut voler jusqu’à 11,500 miles sans ravitaillement (18 000 km) avec une endurance de 36 heures.


Source: Northrop Grumman

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30 mai 2013 4 30 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
Lab effort to cut costs for Navy's Triton UAS program

May 30, 2013 ASDNews Source : Naval Air Systems Command


An engineer at Naval Air Station Patuxent River is leading an initiative that will save the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System program several hundred thousand dollars.


Paul Weinstein, an electronics engineer supporting the Common Standards and Interoperability (CSI) program office, launched an image quality lab in 2012 that will help determine how to effectively employ Triton’s sensors and radars and potentially other manned and unmanned systems.


In preparation for the first Triton image evaluation, Weinstein, a former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)employee, worked with the agency to provide the necessary training, software and image scientists for the first official evaluation of the P-8A aircraft’s Electro-Optical (EO) sensor. Since the P-8A and MQ-4C are part of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems, Weinstein’s team made a decision to evaluate the P-8 first and include test engineers from both programs.


“Paul did an outstanding job getting this image quality assessment capability set up and running,” said Pat Ellis, MQ-4C Triton’s Mission Systems lead. “This will save the Triton program several hundred thousand dollars, since we will not have to submit packages for image ratings to NGA and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for our imaging systems.”


Without this capability at Pax River, the Navy would have to rely on NGA to perform sensor testing, at a cost of more than $150,000 per evaluation. It would also take more than a month to return the analysis to the team. By having the lab at Pax, each test is virtually free and it takes less than one week to turn around the data to the test team, Weinstein said.


“This level of testing will enable program offices to make smart budget decisions with respect to changes to the current network and current integration measures as well as future integration efforts,” Ellis said.


Typically, image analysts perform this function, but the evaluation proved that test engineers can analyze images and make effective mission-planning decisions.


“We are following the fly-fix-fly philosophy as we figure out solutions that will allow lower bandwidth platforms to send better quality video,” Weinstein added. “We need to understand if a platform can meet its mission and avoid it just flying out and burning fuel.”


The first imagery evaluation for MQ-4C Triton will be conducted after the team has data available from Triton’s first flight, which was conducted May 22 at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif. The image-quality lab team will evaluate the MQ-4C’s EO/Infrared (IR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar sensors.


“The ability to collect and share real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)  quickly and accurately is crucial to ensuring battle commanders have the enhanced situational awareness required for a successful mission,” said Capt. Jim Hoke, MQ-4C Triton program manager.


As an adjunct to the manned P-8 aircraft, Triton is intended to provide persistent maritime and littoral ISR data collection and dissemination capability to the fleet.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:20
MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman



23/05/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


First unveiled in mid-2012, Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton UAV has now made its first flight. Carried out on 22 May 2013, the first Triton UAV flight lasted approximately 90 minutes and serve to validate the drone's autonomous flight control systems.


Triton is a specialised surveillance UAV with a 24 hour endurance and a 2,000 nautical mile field of coverage. Equipped with an array of state-of-the-art sensors, it can spot and identify ships whilst loitering ten miles above the surface of the Earth.


Triton has a 130 foot wingspan, making it wider than some commercial airliners. Thanks to its high-performance engine technology, supplemented by other aerodynamic elements, Triton can undertake 11,500 mile sorties without the need to refuel.


Triton First Flight


"Triton is the most advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aircraft system ever designed for use across vast ocean areas and coastal regions", deputy Triton programme director at Northrop Grumman, Mike Mackey, explained in a company press release on the UAV's first flight. "Through a cooperative effort with the Navy and our industry partners, we successfully demonstrated the flight control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. We couldn't be prouder of the entire team for this achievement."


"First flight represents a critical step in maturing Triton's systems before operationally supporting the Navy's maritime surveillance mission around the world", added Naval Air Systems Command's Triton programme manager, Captain James Hoke. "Replacing our aging surveillance aircraft with a system like Triton will allow us to monitor ocean areas significantly larger with greater persistence."


MQ-4C Triton Naval UAV


Further MQ-4C Triton naval UAV test flights will now be undertaken in coming weeks before the prototype is delivered to NAS Patuxent River in late 2013 to begin a new series of trials.


Just last week, Australia emerged as a potential Triton purchaser, with the country's Defence Minister Stephen Smith announcing a desire to acquire "unmanned aircraft capable of undertaking broad-area maritime surveillance and fleet overwatch."


In Royal Australian Air Force service, the Triton would partner up with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon to create a double-edged maritime patrol capability.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:20
Triton's First Flight

5/22/2013 Strategy Page


PALMDALE, Calif. (May 22, 2013) The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. The one an a half hour flight successfully demonstrated control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. Triton is specially designed to fly surveillance missions up to 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles, allowing coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. The system's advanced suite of sensors can detect and automatically classify different types of ships. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Bob Brown

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16 mai 2013 4 16 /05 /mai /2013 11:35
AUS: Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft
16 May 2013 Pacific Sentinel
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly today announced that the Government would issue a Letter of Request (LOR) to the United States to gain access to detailed cost, capability and availability information on the United States Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned Aircraft.
As outlined in the 2013 Defence White Paper (the White Paper), the Government intends to replace the AP-3C fleet with P-8A Poseidon aircraft, complemented by unmanned aircraft capable of undertaking broad area maritime surveillance and fleet overwatch.
The goal is to provide long-range, long-endurance maritime surveillance and response and an effective anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability.
The acquisition of high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft for maritime patrol and other surveillance is being developed under project AIR 7000 Phase 1B.


One of the options being considered for AIR 7000 Phase 1B is the United States Navy MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System produced by Northrop Grumman.
The MQ-4C Triton is a developmental variant of the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft which is being specifically developed for maritime surveillance roles.
To help assess the suitability of the Triton for Australia’s requirements, the Government will establish a Foreign Military Sales Technical Services Case with the United States Navy to obtain detailed cost, capability and availability information to inform future Government consideration of Project AIR 7000 Phase 1B.
The release of a Letter of Request for the FMS Technical Services Case does not commit Australia to the acquisition of the MQ-4C Triton.
Defence will continue to investigate options for a mixed manned and unmanned aircraft fleet to inform Government consideration later in the decade.
As also outlined in the 2013 Defence White Paper, Defence will analyse the value of further investment in unmanned aircraft for focused area, overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, including for use in border security operations.
This will include the potential expansion of the role of these assets in the ADF to include interdiction and close air support, subject to policy development and Government consideration.
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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 18:20

MQ-4C BAMS Unmanned Aircraft


February 27, 2013:  Strategy Page


The U.S. Navy has begun gathering sailors and equipment for its first Global Hawk UAV squadron. Called VUP (Unmanned Patrol Squadron) 19 it will be in service by October on the east coast of the United States, where it will handle operations over the Atlantic. For naval service the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV is called the MQ-4C Triton and BAMS (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance). A second squadron will enter service next year on the west coast to cover the Pacific.  The navy plans to buy 68 Tritons and 117 P-8As jet aircraft to replace prop driven 250 P-3Cs. This replacement program is supposed to be complete in about a decade. The new surveillance aircraft provide more information over a wider area and do it more quickly.


The Triton has already been in service on an experimental basis. Last year, two years after extensive tests in the Middle East, the Triton began operating with a carrier task force at sea. Circling above the task force at 22,500 meters (70,000 feet), Triton monitored sea traffic off the Iranian coast and the Straits of Hormuz. Anything suspicious is checked out by carrier or land based aircraft, or nearby warships. The Triton aircraft fly a 24 hour sortie every three days. The first production Triton was delivered six months ago.


In 2009, the Triton test consisted of 60 flights and over 1,000 hours in the air. The flights were over land and sea areas, even though the UAV sensors are designed mainly to perform maritime reconnaissance. U.S. Air Force Global Hawk maintenance personnel assisted the navy in tending to the navy RQ-4 while it was on the ground, and for landings and takeoffs. The UAV was operated by navy personnel back in the United States at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. A year earlier, the navy began training four of its personnel (three P-3 pilots and one civilian) to operate RQ-4s. The four navy operator trainees were in an accelerated course (four months instead of five) and were available to help fly U.S. Air Force RQ-4s before the navy RQ-4s test model became operational in 2009.


The P-3 replacement, the P-8A is expected to complement Triton. Although the Boeing 737 based P-8A is a two engine jet, compared to the four engine turboprop P-3C it is replacing, it is a more capable plane. The P-8A has 23 percent more floor space than the P-3, and is larger (118 foot wingspan, versus 100 foot) and heavier (83 tons versus 61). Most other characteristics are the same. Both can stay in the air about ten hours per sortie. Speed however is different. Cruise speed for the 737 is 910 kilometers an hour, versus 590 for the propeller driven P-3. This makes it possible for the P-8A to get to a patrol area faster, which is a major advantage when chasing down subs spotted by sonar arrays or satellites. However, the P-3 can carry more weapons (9 tons, versus 5.6). This is less of a factor as the weapons (torpedoes, missiles, mines, sonobouys) are pound for pound more effective today and that trend continues. Both carry the same size crew, of 10-11 pilots and equipment operators. Both aircraft carry search radar and various other sensors.


The 737 has, like the P-3, been equipped with bomb hard points on the wings for torpedoes or missiles. The B-737 is a more modern design and has been used successfully since the 1960s by commercial aviation. Navy aviators are confident that it will be as reliable as the P-3 (which was based on the Electra civilian airliner that first flew in 1954. Although only 170 were built, plus 600 P-3s, about 20 Electras are still in service). The Boeing 737 first flew in 1965 and over 5,000 have been built. The P-8A will be the first 737 designed with a bomb bay and four wing racks for weapons.


The U.S. Air Force and Navy are buying the B version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs, at a cost of over $60 million each. This version is larger (wingspan is 5 meters/15 feet larger, at 42.2 meters/131 feet, and it's nine percent longer at 15.5 meters/48 feet) than the A model, and can carry more equipment. To support that, there's a new generator that produces 150 percent more electrical power. The RQ-4 has a range of over 22,000 kilometers and a cruising speed of 650 kilometers an hour.


The first three RQ-4Bs entered service in 2006. At 13 tons, the Global Hawk is the size of a commuter airliner (like the Embraer ERJ 145), but costs nearly twice as much. Global Hawk can be equipped with much more powerful and expensive sensors, which more than double the cost of the aircraft. These "spy satellite quality" sensors (especially AESA radar) are usually worth the expense because they enable the UAV, flying at over 20,000 meters (62,000 feet), to get a sharp picture of all the territory it can see from that altitude. The B version is supposed to be a lot more reliable. Early A models tended to fail and crash at the rate of once every thousand flight hours.


The maritime RQ-4 is seen as the ultimate replacement for all manned maritime patrol aircraft. The P-8A will probably be the last manned naval search aircraft. Some countries are using satellite communications to put the sensor operators who staff manned patrol aircraft on the ground. Some nations propose sending aircraft like the P-3 or P-8 aloft with just their flight crews, having all the other gear operated from the ground. This enables the aircraft to stay in the air longer and carry more gear.

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20 novembre 2012 2 20 /11 /novembre /2012 08:10

MQ-4C BAMS Unmanned Aircraft




Team Checking Control Software, Subsystems Prior to Flight Operations


Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy have added a second Triton unmanned aircraft to ground testing efforts in late September – part of an initial step in preparation for flight operations.


Two Triton unmanned aircraft systems are being used to flight test and mature the system for operational use. Ground testing allows the team to further reduce risks associated with control software and subsystems prior to flight.


The first Triton entered ground testing in July after production concluded in June.


"Ground testing signifies our steady progress toward conducting Triton's first flight," said Steve Enewold, Northrop Grumman's vice president and program manager for Triton. "Through numerous engine runs and checks with communications systems between the aircraft and ground controllers, we can ensure that everything is working properly before entering taxi testing as the next step in our efforts."


Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor to the Navy's MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. In 2008, the company was awarded a systems development and demonstration contract to build two aircraft and test them in preparation for operational missions by late 2015.


The Navy's program of record calls for 68 Tritons to be built.


Triton provides a detailed picture of surface vessels to identify threats across vast areas of ocean and littoral areas. With its ability to fly missions up to 24 hours, Triton complements many manned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

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17 septembre 2012 1 17 /09 /septembre /2012 17:20

MQ-4C Triton


MQ-4C BAMS will soon become the first unmanned system

in US service committed to the maritime patrol mission.


September 17, 2012 by Richard Dudley - defense-update.com


The United States Navy is planning to deploy Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad-Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) drones to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam with preparations for deployment projected to begin during Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14).


The MQ-4C Triton, only recently introduced, is a large, unmanned drone designed to provide enhanced maritime surveillance in coordination with the Navy’s P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance/anti-submarine aircraft.


Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) currently operates three Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in a limited surveillance role. The RQ-4 was designed primarily to perform land surveillance duties, not long-duration ocean surveillance sweeps.


In an interview with ABC News, intelligence analyst Matthew Aid said that the RQ-4 “was designed for pinpoint imagery or eavesdropping on land targets, by over flight, or by flying obliquely up to 450 kilometers off an enemy’s coastline” while the MQ-4C “was designed for broad area maritime surveillance – following ships from high altitude.”


Joe Gradisher, Public Affairs Officer for the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), recently told Stars & Stripes newspaper that the Navy’s Tritons would join the Global Hawks at Guam.


Mr. Gradisher told Stars & Stripes that current plans “for BAMS include the use of Guam, but other bases may be considered in the future, subject to combatant commander desires and future diplomatic arrangements.” The Japan Times newspaper and ABC News also reported the decision to base the Tritons at Guam.


As part of the United States’ “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region, the US Navy is working towards reinforcing its maritime surveillance capability in the Pacific Ocean arena. Existing plans call for the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol/Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft to be deployed as a replacement for the Navy’s venerable Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The P-8A Poseidon is designed to operate with the Navy’s new MQ-4C Triton in an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role that includes the interdiction of maritime shipping and performance of electronic intelligence (ELINT) functions. The P-3 has been in service with the navies of many nations since 1962 and is nearing retirement. The P-8s are expected to begin replacing some of the aging P-3s assigned to stateside squadrons next year.


Existing plans call for the acquisition of 68 Tritons and 117 Poseidons to replace the P-3C Orions still operational. By pairing the MQ-4C Triton BAMS drone with the P-8A Poseidon in the Pacific, the US Navy will be able to maintain a continuous long-range surveillance over a wide expanse of the Asia-Pacific region to an extent the P-3C Orions cannot match. As tensions between Japan, China, and other Asian-Pacific nations have continued to escalate and are beginning to pose a threat to regional peace, an enhanced surveillance force is a capability US Pacific commanders are anxious to get into operation.


There is also a very real possibility that Japan will be deploying its drones to Andersen AFB in the near future as well. Japan’s Kyodo News Service reported that the United States and Japan were discussing a proposal to jointly-base US and Japanese UAVs in Guam. The Japan Times newspaper also released a story, citing an anonymous source, stating that the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) was in negotiations with US representatives to arrange a joint-use arrangement that would allow the JSDF to operate drones from Guam.


The joint-use proposal, as reported by the Japan Times, would provide for the JSDF to share USAF/USN hangars, flight support, and maintenance facilities.


A previous Japanese proposal to buy Global Hawks was dropped because of cost considerations, but JSDF officials insist it is their desire to buy surveillance drones sometime between Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2020. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) currently operates 80 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, five EP-3C ELINT Orions, and four OP-3C reconnaissance models from various air stations throughout the Japanese Archipelago. These aircraft were built under license by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.


United States Navy officials and JMSDF officers are well aware that Japan’s fleet of Orions is not capable of providing the long-duration continuous surveillance of Pacific sea lanes needed to keep an eye on China’s rapidly-growing, technologically-advanced naval presence. A joint-basing arrangement would be advantageous to both nations with respect to cost-savings, workload reductions, information sharing, and joint-force readiness.


US military officials at Guam declined comment on the MQ-4C basing reports. Navy Lieutenant William Knight said that he could neither confirm nor deny the reports, but indicated that pertinent information could be forthcoming at a later date.


Guam to become forward base for MQ-4C (BAMS) drones in the Pacific. (Photo: US Navy)

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6 septembre 2012 4 06 /09 /septembre /2012 18:53
U.S., Japan consider Guam drone pact


September 6th, 2012 by mike.hoffman - defensetech.org


Japan and the U.S. are considering plans to use Guam as a hub for spy drones to monitor Chinese naval activities in the Pacific, according to a report in the Japan Times.


The U.S. already has Global Hawks stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The U.S. Air Force plans to expand the number of spy drones at Andersen and welcome Japan drones over the next decade as the Japanese military plans to buy its own drone fleet.


Japan’s Self-Defense Force had planned to buy Global Hawks of its own before the deal was scuttled due to price concerns. The Japanese have remained confident in their plans to buy their own drones, especially as the Chinese naval fleet has stepped up their patrols throughout the Pacific.


Japanese military leaders currently fly the P-3C patrol aircraft to monitor Chinese naval movements. The investment in a Global Hawk or the U.S. Navy’s version of the RG-4, the Triton, would be a considerable step up in Japan’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.


U.S. and Japan air forces would share hangars and maintenance facilities for their drone fleets, according to the Japan Times report.


The U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk arrived at Andersen in 2010. It’s the Air Force’s largest drone, although it does not carry weapons like the Predator or the Reaper.


U.S. Global Hawks from Guam flew missions over Japan after the massive tsunami obliterated the country. The Global Hawks provided intelligence and imagery for humanitarian clean up.


MQ-4C Triton

MQ-4C Triton

Northrop Grumman unveiled the MQ-4C Triton in June as part of the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. It’s expected to fly a considerable chunk of it’s missions over the Pacific monitoring the Chinese and North Koreans.

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