U.S. Navy tests MQ-4C unmanned aerial vehicles with upgraded sensors

U.S. Navy tests MQ-4C unmanned aerial vehicles with upgraded sensors
126     11:16     31 07 2021    
An MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with an upgraded multi-intelligence configuration was successfully tested this week, the U.S. Navy announced.

The test is regarded as a milestone in the improvement of the vehicle, the U.S. Navy's premier high-altitude long-endurance, or HALE, maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform, builder Northrop Grumman said in a statement on Friday.

While MQ-4Cs currently deployed by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force include multi-mission sensors in a configuration known as Integrated Functional Capability 3, or IFC-3, the test involved IFC-4, which includes improved hardware and software configurations for improved sensor feedback, the Navy said on Thursday.

"This flight proves that the program is making significant progress toward Triton's advanced multi-intelligence upgrade and it brings us closer to achieving the initial operational capability milestone," program manager Capt. Dan Mackin said in a press release.

The unmanned aircraft, over 47 feet in length and with a wingspan of nearly 131 feet, is powered by a Rolls-Royce turbofan engine and flown by four personnel from a ground station.

It was designed for high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, in regular orbits, to complement the P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft, which is a modified Boeing 737.

Two MQ-4C aircraft in the IFC-3 configuration are currently deployed to the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet.
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