Triton Conversion

At a cost estimated at $116 million, the US Navy is to convert a Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAV developmental test aircraft to LRIP Lot 2 configuration. Once reconfigured, the aircraft will take part in the MQ-4C initial operational test and evaluation, which is expected to start in FY2021 using Integrated Function Capability (IFC-4) software that enables multiple-intelligence capability and the use of a signals intelligence package designed as a replacement system of the US Navy’s EP-3E Aries II. Flight testing of the modified IFC-3 software, the version to be used by a two-vehicle force with early operational capability in FY2018 should start this year. Previous flight testing and an operational assessment in December 2015 used IFC-2 software. David C Isby