An MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System — previously known as the Broad Area Maritime System (BAMS) — took to the air for the first time May 22, completing an 80-minute flight around southern California.
The aircraft, developed from Northrop Grumman’ s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system, reached an altitude of 20,000 feet during the flight in restricted airspace near Palmdale, Calif., according to a press release from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
The event marked the start of several months of flight tests in California. This fall, the first two aircraft will move to the Navy’s aircraft test facility at Patuxent River, Md., where several BAMS-D demonstrator aircraft have been flying.
The Triton system is expected to reach its initial operational capability in 2016.
First flight of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft, May 22, 2013. Seen from a chase plane, probably in the Edwards Air Force Base operating area. (U.S. Navy courtesy Northrop Grumman, photo by Bob Brown)
The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft seen during its first flight on May 22. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Bob Brown)
The MQ-4C in the air over southern California on May 22. Chase planes were prohibited from getting in front of the unmanned aircraft on its first flight. (U.S. Navy via Northrop Grumman photo by Bob Brown)
The aircraft comes in for a landing at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, Calif., on May 22 after its first flight. (U.S. Navy via Northrop Grumman photo by Alex Evers)
The MQ-4C Triton aircraft comes in to land at Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale, Calif., on May 22, completing its first flight. (U.S. Navy via Northrop Grumman photo by Alex Evers)
The Triton just before touching down May 22 at Northrop's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. (U.S. Navy via Northrop Grumman, photo by Daniel Perales)
A puff of smoke marks the end of the Triton's successful first flight. (U.S. Navy via Northrop Grumman, photo by Daniel Perales)
Two Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs on the tarmac at a Northrop Grumman test facility in Palmdale, Calif. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Chad Slattery)
Two Triton UAVs at Palmdale on May 21. The two-tone paint scheme is intended to keep the aircraft cooler in hot temperatures. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Chad Slattery)
If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
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