The Navy's BAMS UAS has logged 10,000 combat hours. (Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman)
The U.S. Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) UAV has flown 10,000 combat hours in support of U.S. intelligence-gathering missions in the Middle East.
BAMS-D UAVs "are currently flying 15 missions a month and allow fleet commanders to identify and track potential targets of interest using a specialized suite of surveillance sensors," said a news release by manufacturer Northrop Grumman.
BAMS-D was first deployed in 2009 on a six-month assignment to demonstrate the suitability for aircraft, based on the Global Hawk, for maritime surveillance. "BAMS-D has been extremely successful in providing a strategic picture to carrier and amphibious battle groups as they move through areas where we need more awareness," said Capt. James Hoke, program manager for the Navy's MQ-4C Triton UAV at Naval Air Systems Command.
The Navy is also using BAMS-D to research surveillance capabilities for the Triton, which carries sensors optimized for maritime work. "We've designed Triton to carry sensors that can monitor large ocean and coastal areas with a 360-degree field of view," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's Triton program director. "Coupled with anti-ice and de-ice capabilities and some structural strength improvements, the system will operate in a variety of weather conditions while providing a greatly improved surveillance picture to fleet commanders."