The Triton unmanned aircraft system completes its first flight May 22 from the Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. (Northrop Grumman)
The Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft has passed a key test. Triumph Aerostructures’ Vought Aircraft Division, which is supplying the Triton’s wing, has demonstrated the structural strength of the wing, according to Triton manufacturer Northrop Grumman.
Engineers found that no failures or unacceptable deformations of the wing occurred when it was subjected to a load at 22 percent above the Navy’s requirement.
“This is a key capability that will allow the aircraft to descend from high altitudes to make positive identification of targets of interest during surveillance missions,” a Northrop Grumman news release said.
The wing will undergo flight tests simulating various fuels loads, and a fatigue test of the entire airframe will begin in 2017, the company said.
The long-endurance Triton will complement Navy P-8 Poseidon manned patrol aircraft. Some 68 aircraft are scheduled to be built.