Northrop Grumman Receives $172 Million from U.S. Navy for Two MQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Systems is awarded a contract modification, worth around $172.4 million, by the U.S. Navy for the production and delivery of two MQ-4 Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft.

This modification is also for one Navy main operating base, trade studies and associated technical and administrative data in addition to the two MQ-4 Triton platform. The U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is the contracting activity.

Fiscal 2020 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds for the modification amount will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Work will be performed in San Diego, California (30.5%); Red Oak, Texas (12%); Palmdale, California (10%); Baltimore, Maryland (9.7%); Salt Lake City, Utah (7.9%); Bridgeport, West Virginia (4.9%); Indianapolis, Indiana (3.8%); Moss Point, Mississippi (3.6); Chantilly, Virginia (3.5%); Waco, Texas (1.7%); San Clemente, California (1.3%); Newton, North Dakota (.9%); various locations within the continental U.S. (8.8%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (1.4%), and is expected to be completed in January 2024.

The MQ-4C Triton is a high-altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy as a surveillance aircraft.

Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the MQ-4C system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue (SAR) missions, and to complement the manned Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

Triton is based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force. The primary design changes of Triton compared to Global Hawk include reinforcements to the airframe and wing, de-icing systems, and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed.

MQ-4C Triton can fly for up to 24 hours and reach altitudes of up to 55,000 feet. Flying high above the battle space, Triton provides a critical common operating picture, disseminating images and near-real time video to commanders around the world.

The MQ-4C System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft was delivered in 2012. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the MQ-4C was achieved in 2018 with Full Operating Capability (FOC) planned in 2023.

Last month, the Navy’s first MQ-4C Triton UAS arrived in Guam for their initial deployment in the Pacific theater.

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