MQ-4C Triton senses improved avoidance capability

Northrop Grumman has been contracted by the US Navy to prototype and reduce the risk of integrating sense and avoid (SAA) capabilities into the high-altitude, long-endurance MQ-4C Triton autonomous system.

In a release issued on May 10 the company outlined that the capability would allow the Triton to safely operate in shared airspace with manned aircraft. Sense and avoid is a focus of the next developmental increment of the MQ-4C system, and a crucial element of the development programme requirements defined between the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

MQ-4C
The Triton MQ-4C is under development for operations with the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. US DoD/SrA Michael Murphy

Northrop Grumman and ACSS have been collaborating with Naval Air Systems Command for more than five years in the development and evaluation of SAA technology, and have worked together to contribute to the development of SAA-related industry standards, the Northrop Grumman release stated.

“Sense and avoid will help ensure our customers can safely operate Triton out of almost any airfield or airport in the world, in full compliance with current and emerging aviation regulations around the globe,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president and programme manager, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. “Incorporating SAA capability will add tremendous flexibility to the Triton system and how the US Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and potential future customers seamlessly integrate Triton into their concepts of operation.”