The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Broad Area Maritime Surveillance
The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to build six more MQ-8C unmanned helicopters based on the Bell 407, bringing to 14 the number of new, larger Fire Scouts under contract. The Navy plans to acquire a total of 30 MQ-8Cs under a rapid development effort that calls for deployment next year.
Northrop Grumman selected a Telephonics multimode surveillance radar to equip U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopters under a rapid deployment capability program. The company awarded Telephonics a $33 million contract for the production, integration and testing of nine radar systems.
Northrop Grumman said it is building a company-funded development and demonstration model of the U.S. Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance (Bams) aircraft. The company released a photograph on January 8 showing the aircraft being assembled at its Palmdale, Calif., production facility.
ITT Exelis for the first time exhibited its airborne sense-and-avoid (ABSAA) radar under development for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) unmanned aircraft system. The radar was displayed this week at the Unmanned Systems North America conference in Las Vegas. It is also being promoted for other UASs as a solution to flying in unrestricted airspace, branded as the SkySense 2020H radar system.
A demonstrator for the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) UAV crashed near NAS Patuxent River on June 11. The UAV crashed into swampland about 20 miles east of the base and was destroyed, after what the Navy described as a routine flight. The accident came just four days before Northrop Grumman unveiled the first MQ-4C, the full-specification Bams UAV, at Palmdale, Calif.
Northrop Grumman gained a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract to supply five Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs with advanced multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) radars for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
Northrop Grumman has gained a large new contract from the U.S. Air Force to supply its large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for fixed-wing platforms. In February it was one of two contractors the Army selected to demonstrate a next-generation common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) system for helicopters and other aircraft, although a bid protest has stalled that program.
News highlights from the Singapore Air Show this week: Lockheed Martin announced a new version of the evergreen F-16 fighter designated F-16V. It includes the upcoming AESA radar upgrade as well as a new mission computer and cockpit display.
The appearance of the marinized variant of the General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B at the recent Paris Air Show heralds an export drive for the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to European NATO countries, as well as Australia, Japan and other prospects. The aircraft at Paris belonged to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has named it the Guardian.