The wingspan for this drone is greater than that of a Boeing 757 and despite being so huge, it sits among the list of world’s most sophisticated surveillance crafts that have been designed so far. The design is based on the MQ-9 which was a huge success as well. The drone has been named MQ-4C Triton, and it is the surveillance capability of this drone that surpasses all others. The flight ceiling on this beast is 60,000 ft and apart from that, Triton is fully able to provide surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence from distances that are well clear of any enemy threat.
Triton comes equipped with sensors which allow it to survey an area of of 3,218 km in 360-degree. Triton has an autonomous and long leash that makes it capable of automatically categorizing any ships which it picks up on its radar during its 24 hour sorties. Triton also comes equipped with software packs that will allow the land-based crew of four people to collect high definition images which can afterwards be shared with operational units.
Triton is still in development phase. However, the progress is quite impressive. Recently, it executed the ninth trial flight near Northrup Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California. The drone has proven in test flights that it can easily achieve a height of 50,000 ft and this only means one thing; Navy is quite happy with how things are going so far!
Navy will be purchasing about 68 Tritons from Northrup Grumman and the total contract price is $1.32 billion. The drone shall be delivered in 2017.