The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C BAMS Triton unmanned air system on display during its rollout ceremony in Palmdale, Calif., June 2012. (U.S. Navy Photo)
A graphic depiction of the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton in the air, with a second Triton surveilling a cargo vessel below.
3. A maintenance technician from the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s Global Hawk aircraft maintenance unit works on a RQ-4B Global Hawk during operations on the flightline, April 15, at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia. The BAMS Triton is derived from the Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force Photo)
4. Northrop Grumman unveils the U.S. Navy MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system during a ceremony at the Northrop Grumman Palmdale Calif. manufacturing facility. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Northrup Grumman)
5. Adm. Mark Ferguson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, introduces the MQ-4C BAMS Triton during the rollout ceremony in Palmdale, Calif.
A Navy BAMS Triton demonstrator, unmanned and loaded with ultra-high-tech radar and sensors, takes flight
7. Maintenance technicians work on a U.S. Air Force Global Hawk on the flightline at Beale Air Force Base near Maryville, Calif. (U.S. Air Force Photo)
Although its strategic importance has faded a bit since Soviet ballistic-missile submarines ceased prowling along the U.S. coastline, maritime patrol remains a central mission of the U.S. Navy. The P-3 Orion, a four-engine turboprop maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft derived from the Lockheed Electra commercial airliner, recently reached its 50-year service milestone. In the next few years, the P-8 Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft, a variant of the Boeing 737-800 commercial jetliner, will supplant the P-3 and continue the mission.
Recently, however, the Navy added another platform to its maritime patrol and surveillance arsenal that will supplement and extend the capabilities of the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF).
On June 14, 2012, at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, California, production facility, the Navy rolled out the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Named after the mythological son of Poseidon and messenger of the ocean, the MQ-4C “Triton” is itself derived from the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV, which has been in service as a high-altitude surveillance aircraft with the Air Force for more than a decade.
During the rollout ceremony, Admiral Mark Ferguson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, commented, “Last year, we proudly celebrated the centennial of naval aviation. This year we have seen the rollout of a new patrol aircraft and now, with the rollout of BAMS, the beginning of an unmanned tradition in our fleet.”
Although its strategic importance has faded a bit since Soviet ballistic-missile submarines ceased prowling along…
by Christian Shepherd / May 23, 2013