Print 15 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on Mar 26 at 5:57 PM

Initial flight tests clear the way for new tests for Triton

The U.S. military is quickly ramping up its use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to not only save costs, but to also put fewer pilots in harm’s way. The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman have announced that they have completed initial flight testing on the MQ-4C Triton UAV, which can be configured for multiple intelligence, surveillance, and recon sensor payloads.
The Triton has completed thirteen test flights since it first took to the sky back in May; the longest of which was 81 hours.

The aircraft can now fly at various altitudes (the UAV reached 59,950 feet over the course of testing), speeds, and weights. The initial stages of flight-testing validated over 568 test points according to Northrop Grumman.
The Triton test aircraft will be taken to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, where the aircraft sensor suite will be installed and flight-tested for validation of the capabilities of the aircraft.
The Navy has requested 68 Triton aircraft to add to its fleet.

Source: Northrop Grumman

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Shouldn't take long
By inperfectdarkness on 3/25/2014 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
This is pretty much an RQ-4 with a few mods for carrier use, etc. Nothing really interesting or new.

RE: Shouldn't take long
By marvdmartian on 3/25/2014 1:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully they've also worked out any bugs that were allowing GPS spoofing and communications problems in the past? Sort of sucks, as the advantage of a RPA (no pilot) is pretty much immediately lost, when you lose the aircraft to something so seemingly simple.

RE: Shouldn't take long
By Hammer1024 on 3/25/2014 2:25:09 PM , Rating: 3
Err. No, this bird's to big for a carrier. You do realize it's the size of a Boeing 727?

While it outwardly looks like RQ-4, it's structure is more corrosion resistant for the Naval environment.

It also has significant changes to its avionics & ISR suit.

And to some of us, it is interesting and very new.

RE: Shouldn't take long
By rocman on 3/25/2014 4:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wow didn't realize it's got a longer wingspan than the 727! Thought it's less than half of the 727's length though. Still, very impressive.

RE: Shouldn't take long
By Jeffk464 on 3/26/2014 5:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, think U2 a whole lot of high aspect wing ration for the weight.

RE: Shouldn't take long
By Jeffk464 on 3/26/2014 5:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
eh wing area

RE: Shouldn't take long
By corduroygt on 3/26/2014 12:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the size of a 727, don't spew BS. Only the wingspan is comparable to the 727, it's far smaller than the 727 in other dimensions and weight.

By michael67 on 3/25/2014 11:47:13 AM , Rating: 1

By stm1185 on 3/25/2014 4:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. A drone lost is a pilot saved.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/25/2014 9:17:18 PM , Rating: 1
I would rather a pilot die than witness entire population centers wiped out.

War is horrible, and if we allow ourselves to think otherwise through "life saving" drone warfare, that's when the REAL war atrocities will take place.

By Samus on 3/25/2014 11:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
War is horrible, but made ever worse when our pilots die fighting a (hopefully) righteous cause.

By Monkey's Uncle on 3/26/2014 7:18:50 AM , Rating: 2
Righteous as defined by whoever is sending you to fight the enemy.

Somehow I don't think righteous plays any part in the use of these things any more than the American NSA spying on my cellphone is righteous.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/26/2014 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you get my point.

If we get to the point that war isn't seen as something horrible, we're going to take a much more cavalier attitude toward it. Leading to escalations in conflicts. Which ultimately will lead to more loss in life long term.

Picture Vietnam. Imagine if there were no body bags coming home, no reports of how many were massacred. No mention of how many on the other side we massacred etc etc. Would the people even care? It's just a bunch of drones and robots right? Let our Government do whatever they want, who cares!

See where I'm going?

Wow, never realized they're getting so big.
By TennesseeTony on 3/25/2014 7:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
That being said, the Navy has successfully landed and launched a C130 Hercules in the past. That plane has a similar wingspan, but 5 times the weight. It is conceivable that they could employ folding wings if they DID decide to have one or two onboard a carrier. But it seems this one is designed more for land based coastal patrols.

I wonder at what speed it cruises to obtain the maximum 60 hour flight time? 200mph equals a 12,000 mile range!

By inperfectdarkness on 3/26/2014 7:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
That could well be, since the Navy never used P3's or P8's from carriers. Still, doesn't seem like a radical departure from the original. More like gutting an existing airframe design and putting in new state-of-the-art gizmos.

Same thing has been done with the U-2. Originally, the U-2 carried high-resolution analog cameras with medium-format film (or roughly the equivalent thereof). It would RTB (return to base) with reels and canisters of film to be developed. Currently, it captures the same imagery with digital imaging. Still pretty much the same airplane though.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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