On finishing first flight, Northrop Grumman eyes software upgrade for Triton surveillance UAV

Posted by John Keller

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 28 May 2013. In the same day that unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. completed the first flight of the new Navy MQ-4C Triton maritime patrol UAV, Navy experts are making plans to upgrade the UAV's software.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., on 22 May awarded a $15.3 million contract modification to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector in Bethpage, N.Y., to upgrade the Triton's software from Windows XP to Windows 7.

The contract modification concerns the MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) systems development and demonstration phase.

Also on 22 May Northrop Grumman experts completed the first flight of the Triton BAMS high-altitude UAV at the Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif.

Triton is designed to fly maritime surveillance missions for as long as 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles to enable coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles, Northrop Grumman officials say. The UAV's suite of sensors can detect and classify different types of ships automatically.

The Triton will be a crucial component of the Navy's 21st century strategy for conducting surveillance of surface ship and submarine traffic in the vast Pacific and other oceans around the globe.

The Triton UAV will work together with the Navy's P-8 Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft. The P-8 is a Boeing 737 passenger jet modified for low-level surveillance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions.

The idea is for the Triton UAV to conduct broad-area surveillance missions, and when it detects a target of interest it alerts a P-8 operating in the area to go in and take a closer look. The P-8 is equipped with air-launched torpedoes and other ASW weapons.

"Triton is the most advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] unmanned aircraft system ever designed for use across vast ocean areas and coastal regions," says Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman Triton UAS deputy program director.

Additional Triton flight tests will go from Palmdale to mature the system before being flown to the main flight test facility at Patuxent River NAS later this year. Northrop Grumman won a contract to develop the Triton UAV in 2008. Triton is a modified RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV.

Triton carries a variety of sensor payloads that enable military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.

At 130.9 feet, Triton has a wingspan larger than the world's most common commercial airliner, the Boeing 737. Triton can fly 11,500 miles without refueling.

Northrop Grumman's Triton industry team includes Aurora Flight Sciences, BAE Systems, Curtis-Wright Corp., L3 Communications, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Vought Aircraft Industries.

For the Triton software upgrade, Northrop Grumman will do the work in Hollywood, Md.; Bethpage, N.Y.; Rancho Bernardo, Calif.; San Diego; Salt Lake City; Stillwater, Okla.; Melbourne, Fla.; and Van Nuys, Calif., and should be finished by April 2014.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com/AboutUs/BusinessSectors/AerospaceSystems, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Custom and OEM Camera Design

We provide custom designs for both modifications to existing systems and development of new produ...

Latching Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available with Quick Latch System. For applicati...

Nano-D BiLobe® Connectors -(COTS)

Sizes are 9, 15, 21, 25, 31, 37 , 51 & 65 pin, at .025 Mil. Pitch(Currently Available), mating pi...

Hybrid Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available withmixed power/signal contact layouts...

Micro-D Connectors

Highly rugged and compact designs in shell styles from 9 to 51 contacts. The Micro-D connectors i...

Omnetics Nano-D Bi-Lobe® Latching Connectors

Bi-Lobe® connectors utilize rugged and reliable flex pin contact system. Spaced on 25 mil (.64mm)...

Nano-D Bi-Lobes® Connectors Dual Row Horizontal SMT (Type AA)

Horizontal SMT Bi-Lobe® nanos offer an extremely low profile package that is well suited to pick ...

XPedite7575 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7575 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XTend7103 | COM Express® Carrier for COM Express® Type 10 Mezzanine Modules

The XTend7103 is a COM Express® carrier card designed to provide a low-cost and compact platform ...

XPort6173 | 3U VPX Carrier for Two 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

The XPort6173 supports two, standard, 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) in a single 0.8 in. or 1....

Related Companies

Southwest Antennas

Designs and manufactures high-performance RF and Microwave antennas and accessories designed for today’s communicatio...

Interface Displays & Controls Inc

Certified ISO-9001/AS9100, veteran-owned, small business. Interface specializes in designing, reverse-engineering and...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

GE Aviation Systems

Designs and manufactures high reliability microelectronics for aerospace and military applications. Thick film hybrid...

Astronics Ballard Technology

Manufactures avionics databus interfaces, embedded computers, and software for aerospace, military and commercial use...


Manufactures a large range of underwater electrical and fiber optic connectors. In business for 45 years.

Henniker Plasma

Plasma Treatment Equipment - Plasma Cleaners, Plasma Etchers, Plasma Coating & Plasma Surface ModificationWe are the ...

Fabritech Inc

Fabritech was established in 1986 and specializes in the fabrication of EMI, RFI, and thermal shielded products made ...

SHENMAO America Inc

Provides quality performance solder materials including: SMT assembly, lead free and tin lead solder paste, cored sol...


The Intel Xeon-D processor and its role in high-performance embedded computing (HPEC)

The rugged Intel Xeon-D server-class multicore microprocessor is set to revolutionize high-performance embedded computing. By itself, the processor will bring unprecedented power to embedded computing applic...

Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles