After four years of development, the brand new MQ-4C BAMS Triton was revealed by Northrop Grumman on Thursday, June 14. The unmanned aircraft was developed for US Navy and will be used in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation showcased the first of two planned drones for Navy at an event that took place at the company’s manufacturing plant in Palmdale, California.
The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was named Triton and followed in the footsteps of previous drones manufactured by Northrop Grumman that have all been named after Greek Sea gods. The MQ-4C has been designed as a maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air craft and this unmanned aircraft will support several different types of Naval missions on its own, or along with other assets. The drone has some good specs including a 39.9-meter wingspan and an operational ceiling of 18.29 km. The MQ-4C can be in the air for approximately 24 hours, giving its operators the ability to do a complete night and day survey of areas, ships or other places / things that need surveillance. The aircraft is also equipped with a AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active sensor radar system which gives UAS an ability to encompass a 6.99 million square kilometer area during a single mission. The design of the drone seems to have been borrowed a lot from RQ-4 Global Hawk and has the same distinctive dome.
As of right now, the Triton has not been put into active duty but will be making its way into Navy’s fleet after it has undergone functional requirement reviews and system development and demonstration flights, besides other quality checks. This might be a good idea because unveiling of Triton came only a few days after another BAMS demonstration ended badly when the aircraft crashed.