As an adjunct to the P-8A, the MQ-4C Triton will provide combat information to operational and tactical users such as the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and the Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC). MQ-4C Triton will provide intelligence preparation of the environment by providing a more continuous source of information to maintain the Common Operational and Tactical Picture (COTP) of the maritime battle space. Additionally, MQ-4C Triton-collected data posted to the Global Information Grid (GIG) will support a variety of intelligence activities and nodes. In a secondary role, the MQ-4C Triton will also be used alone or in conjunction with other assets to respond to theater-level operational or national strategic tasking.
The MQ-4C Triton is a Department of Defense (DoD) Acquisition Category (ACAT) 1D program that received approval from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) to enter System Development and Demonstration (SDD) on 18 April 2008. Following a full and open competition, Northrop Grumman Corporation was selected as the best overall value solution to meet the Navy’s persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) requirements.
The MQ-4C Triton will be a forward deployed, land-based, autonomously operated system that provides a persistent maritime ISR capability using a multi-sensor mission payload (maritime radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and basic communications relay). The MQ-4C Triton air vehicle is based upon the United States Air Force (USAF) RQ-4B Global Hawk, while its sensors are based upon components of (or entire systems) already fielded in the DoD inventory. Along with the P-8A manned aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton is integral to the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) Family of Systems (FoS) airborne ISR recapitalization strategy. The MPRF is the operational agent for the MQ-4C Triton and Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG) is the fleet sponsor for the manned/unmanned integration concept. The MQ-4C Triton's ability to perform persistent ISR within a range of 2,000nm allows the P-8A aircraft to focus on their core missions, Anti-Surface Ship Warfare (ASuW)/weapons employment and Multi-Intelligence (INT) operations respectively. The MPRF manned/unmanned Concept of Operations (CONOPS) will also potentially leverage USAF RQ-4 cross-platform training, operational, basing and support synergies which will result in the most effective and efficient means of providing maritime ISR capability to the Fleet. SDD aircraft delivered in 2012 with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) planned for 2017.
Primary Function: Persistent Maritime ISR
Contractor: Northrop Grumman
Propulsion: Rolls-Royce AE3007H
Endurance: 30 hours
Length: 47.6 feet (14.5 meters)
Wingspan: 130.9 feet (39.9 meters)
Height: 15.3 feet (4.7 meters)
Weight: Max design gross take-off: 32,250 pounds (14,628.4 kilograms)
Airspeed: 310 knots (approximately 357 miles per hour)
Ceiling: 60,000 feet (18,288 meters)
Range: >9,950 nautical miles (>18,427 kilometers), max unrefueled range
Crew: 4 per ground station (Air Vehicle Operator, Mission Commander/Comms., 2 Sensor Operators)
Payloads: Communications relay capability, beyond line of sight and line of sight communications and the following 360-degree Field Of Regard (FOR) sensors: Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) Maritime Radar, Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR) sensor, Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver and Electronic Support Measures (ESM)