Navy orders two signals intelligence (SIGINT) versions of MQ-4C Triton long-range maritime patrol UAVs

Sept. 20, 2023
The MQ-4C maritime patrol version of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance UAV that provides real-time intelligence and surveillance.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Signals intelligence (SIGINT) experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will upgrade two U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with SIGINT capability to match that of the Navy's EP-3 manned SIGINT aircraft under terms of a $83.1 million order.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., have asked the Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems segment in San Diego carry out the Triton integrated functional capability (IFC) 4.0 on two MQ-4C UAVs and one main operating base.

These two long-range, high-altitude unmanned SIGINT aircraft are for the U.S. Navy and the Government of Australia.

The MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman Aeronautics, is a maritime patrol version of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance UAV. The Triton provides real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions.

Related: Navy orders amplifier chassis from Argon ST for signals intelligence (SIGINT) Triton unmanned aircraft

The Triton IFC 4.0 project seeks to upgrade the Triton UAV with multi-intelligence capabilities that include SIGINT, such that Triton IFC 4.0 UAVs could replace the Navy's fleet of EP-3 aircraft.

The EP-3 aircraft are based on the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion four-engine turboprop airframe. The Navy still operates only one EP-3 aircraft squadron, which is based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Wash. These aircraft are scheduled for replacement by the Triton IFC 4.0. Much of the EP-3's mission and electronic equipment is secret and is conducted in high-threat areas where long-range standoff is necessary.

The Triton IFC 4.0 unmanned SIGINT aircraft program is installing a SIGINT sensor payload with components from Boeing Argon ST in Fairfax, Va., and Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, Nev.

On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Palmdale and San Diego, Calif.; Chantilly, Va.; Hauppauge, N.Y.; Waco, Texas; Linthicum, Md.; and at other U.S. locations, and should be finished by June 2026. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

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