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Northrop Unveils Triton, US Navy’s MQ-4C BAMS Drone

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Northrop Grumman Unveils U.S. Navy's MQ-4C BAMS Triton

(Source: U.S Naval Air Systems Command; issued June 14, 2012)

PALMDALE, Calif. --- The unmanned aircraft community received its first glimpse of the U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during an unveiling ceremony June 14 at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing plant.

"Last year, we proudly celebrated the centennial of naval aviation--this year we have seen the rollout of a new patrol aircraft and now, the beginning of an unmanned tradition in our fleet with the rollout of BAMS," said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson who spoke at the unveiling. "BAMS is uniquely suited to meet the demands of the maritime environment and give us the advantage we will need in the future--history will record this introduction as a milestone in the second hundred years of naval aviation."

Now officially called the Triton, the MQ-4C's unveiling caps more than four years of development with Northrop Grumman for the surveillance aircraft. The Triton will be an adjunct to the P-8A Poseidon as part of the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems.

"It's a phenomenal event to see the fruits of our labor come to fruition after four years of hard work and dedication to this program," said Capt. James Hoke, program manager for the Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-262), which manages the Triton program. "We are looking forward to continuing testing and evaluation, parts assembly and installation and radar risk-reduction tests."

The next steps for the Triton program involve continued testing, functional requirements review and first flight for the system development and demonstration (SDD-1) aircraft. SDD-2 will follow a few months behind SDD-1.

The Triton air vehicle, which has a 130.9-foot wingspan, is based on the Air Force's RQ-4B Global Hawk, while its sensors are based on components and systems already fielded in the Department of Defense inventory. The Triton's new features include the AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor (MFAS) radar system, the primary sensor on the Triton. The MFAS completed first flight in December aboard a Gulfstream aircraft.

With the MFAS radar's capabilities, the Triton will be able to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission. The Triton's capability to perform persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with a range of 2,000 nautical miles will allow P-8A, P-3C and EP-3E aircraft to focus on their core missions, adding to the capability of the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. (ends)

Northrop Grumman Unveils U.S. Navy's First MQ-4C BAMS Unmanned Aircraft

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corp.; issued June 14, 2012)

PALMDALE, Calif. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) unveiled the first U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) in a ceremony today at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility.

"Northrop Grumman is proud to provide our U.S. Navy customer with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, a key element of the BAMS UAS program, representing the future of naval aviation and a strategic element of the U.S. Navy," said Duke Dufresne, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector vice president and general manager for unmanned systems. "The BAMS UAS program will revolutionize persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. We are honored to serve the U.S. Navy and our nation's allies in the quest to build and maintain a strong and cooperative global maritime domain."

The Northrop Grumman BAMS UAS is a versatile maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system to support a variety of missions while operating independently or in direct collaboration with fleet assets. When operational, BAMS will play a key role in providing commanders with a persistent, reliable picture of surface threats, covering vast areas of open ocean and littoral regions as the unmanned segment of the Navy's Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Force.

"Today is a significant day for the BAMS team," said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, program executive officer, unmanned aviation and strike weapons. "The work they have done and will continue to do is critical to the future of naval aviation. Their efforts will enable the BAMS system to provide the fleet a game-changing persistent maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability."

Designated the MQ-4C, the U.S. Navy released the aircraft name today as "Triton," keeping with the tradition of naming surveillance aircraft after Greek sea gods. Triton is the Greek messenger of the sea.

Currently, BAMS-D (demonstrator), a Block 10 RQ-4 equipped with maritime sensors, is being used by the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. BAMS-D provides a glimpse of the full persistent capabilities that the Triton's 360-degree Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) radar will bring to the fleet. The MFAS radar is produced by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.

The BAMS UAS program is managed by the Navy's Program Executive Office (Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons), Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-262), at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

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