The Navy and Northrop Grumman are updating software and sensors on a new high-tech, autonomous maritime drone designed to identify and zero in on enemy ship targets at sea, service and industry officials said.
The Navy’s Triton autonomous drone, called the MQ-4C, is now receiving a “3.1 software” integration as part of a technical plan for the aircraft to be operational by 2018. The first Tritons are slated to deliver sometime later this year, developers said.
The Navy also separately tested the Triton’s software and sensor systems by flying them in a surrogate Gulfstream 2 airplane.
The Triton is designed to bring endurance, altitude, range and persistent stare ability over a wide, expansive area; it can stay on missions for over 24 hours at altitudes greater than 50,000 feet, Navy developers explained.
The Navy has also announced that next generation aircraft avoidance systems are being installed on the Triton.