Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy have completed nine initial flight tests of the Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS), marking the half-way point in a process called envelope expansion.
During envelope expansion, the test team validates the aircraft’s ability to operate at a range of altitudes, speeds and weights. The flights are taking place at the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif.
The Triton test team accomplished endurance flights up to 9.4-hours at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft also performed doublets, a maneuver that tests the aircraft’s ability to recover from small perturbations in its flight path caused by turbulence.
Triton carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow 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.
The Navy plans to field 68 Triton UAS and will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct surveillance missions.
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