Navy League 2021: US Navy says no to using Triton UAV for airborne early warning, control

by Pat Host

The US Navy (USN) is uninterested in using the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS) for airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) missions despite an expert saying it would be a good use for the aircraft in contested environments.

A Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long-endurance UAS pictured on 4 April 2020 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. An expert said the MQ-4C in its newest configuration could perform the AEW&C mission and push E-2Ds further from battle, but the USN would rather have the aircraft focus on maritime patrol. (US Air Force)

A Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long-endurance UAS pictured on 4 April 2020 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. An expert said the MQ-4C in its newest configuration could perform the AEW&C mission and push E-2Ds further from battle, but the USN would rather have the aircraft focus on maritime patrol. (US Air Force)

Captain Dan Mackin, outgoing persistent maritime UAS programme manager, said on 3 August at the Navy League's 2021 Sea-Air-Space convention that he would rather have the MQ-4C focus on maritime patrol. Doug Shaffer, Northrop Grumman vice-president and programme manager for Triton programmes, said on 3 August that the company is considering demonstrations that have the MQ-4C and the company's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft share each other's pictures.

Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, told Janes on 3 August that the newest hardware and software configurations of the MQ-4C, known as Integrated Functional Capability-4 (IFC-4), will have enough passive sensing capability to be used for AEW&C. The USN conducted the first flight test of the MQ-4C in its IFC-4 configuration on 29 July.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/navy-league-2021-us-navy-says-no-to-using-triton-uav-for-airborne-early-warning-control

The US Navy (USN) is uninterested in using the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long endu...

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