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First-production Triton at IFC-4 standard delivered to USN

The first IFC-4 standard Triton for the US Navy. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Navy (USN) has taken delivery of the first Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) configured to Integrated Functional Capability 4 (IFC-4) standard.

Aircraft B8 was delivered to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, on 1 February. IFC-4 supports a so-called Multi-Intelligence (Multi-INT) configuration that endows the MQ-4C with a signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability.

An integral element of the USN's plan to recapitalise its maritime patrol and reconnaissance force, the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance UAS has been designed to provide a persistent maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data collection and dissemination capability to the fleet, and to shorten the sensor-to-shooter kill-chain. The MQ-4C is characterised as a maritime ISR ‘system of systems' comprising the air vehicle itself (a marinised adaptation of the high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4B Global Hawk), a multisensor mission payload (maritime radar, electro-optical/infrared, electronic support measures, Automatic Identification System (AIS), and basic communications relay), and supporting ground control stations.

The Multi-INT kit embodied in IFC-4 includes sensor, electronics, and communication subsystems changes to permit processing of Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information. Argon ST, a Boeing subsidiary, is the designer, developer, and integrator of the Multi-Intelligence Sensor Development (MISD) Low Band Sensor Suite, while Sierra Nevada Corporation holds an equivalent role for the MISD High Band Sensor Suite.

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