Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft MQ-4C Triton was developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program

Introduce

According to Northrop Grumman, MQ-4C Triton is designed based on the variant of the Global Hawk RQ-4B for the navy. The outstanding advantage of MQ-4C Triton is that it is equipped with the most modern reconnaissance technologies.

Triton also incorporates a reinforced airframe, for increased internal payload, and wing for hail, bird strike, and gust load protection, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These features allow the aircraft to descend and ascend through harsh maritime weather environments to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed.

It can be said that Triton will be a crucial component of the Navy’s 21st century strategy for conducting surveillance of surface ship and submarine traffic in the vast Pacific and other oceans around the globe.

MQ-4C Triton
MQ-4C Triton

Design

As a product developed based on RQ-4B Global Hawk, MQ-4C Triton still maintains the overall design lines with some noticeable changes. The MQ-4C will showcase a bulged belly fairing containing the expected radar array as well as a small chin protrusion visual tracking system.

The main aluminium fuselage is of semi-monocoque construction, while the V-tail, engine nacelle and aft fuselage are made of composite materials. The forward fuselage is reinforced as mentioned above for the rigors of over-water flight. A single engine is mounted on its spine, straight wing appendages, retractable tricycle undercarriage and outward-canted vertical tail fins.

Powerplant

MQ-4C Triton is powered by a Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine, generates a thrust of 8,500lb. This UAV can reach a maximum speed of 357 miles per hour, equivalent to 575 km/h, with a maximum service ceiling listed at 60,000 feet.

Its maximum unrefuelled range is 9,950 nautical miles and endurance is 30 hours.

Operators

The US Navy is currently the only force to operate the MQ-4C line with 68 aircraft ordered, of which two have been handed over and staffed to the unmanned patrol squad number 19.

Australia last year signed $5.1 billion contract to buy 6 MQ-4Cs with the system attached, while Germany also expressed interest in owning this UAV in 2025.

Specifications

(Source: Wikipedia)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Unmanned – 4 personnel fly aircraft from ground station
  • Length: 47 ft 7 in (14.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 130 ft 11 in (39.9 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 5 in (4.6 m)
  • Empty weight: 14,945 lb (6,781 kg)
  • Gross weight: 32,250 lb (14,630 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, 6,495–8,917 lbf (28.89–39.66 kN) thrust

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 357 mph (575 km/h, 320 kn)
  • Range: 9,400 mi (15,200 km, 8,200 nmi)
  • Endurance: 30 hours
  • Service ceiling: 56,000 ft (17,000 m)

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