Northrop Grumman has announced that structural strength tests on the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system’s wings showed that it can handle more than the required load by the U.S. Navy.
The company said it worked with Triumph Group Inc.’s subsidiary, Vought Aircraft Division, to demonstrate the Triton’s strength during surveillance missions, Northrop Grumman announced Monday.
During the test at the Vought Aircraft’s facility in Dallas, the Triton was subjected to a load 22% above the Navy’s requirement. Vought Aircraft served as the wing supplier for Triton.
“During surveillance missions using Triton, Navy operators may spot a target of interest and order the aircraft to a lower altitude to make positive identification,” said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman’s Triton UAS program director.
“The wing’s strength allows the aircraft to safely descend, sometimes through weather patterns, to complete this maneuver,” he added.
Northrop Grumman added that further tests on the Triton’s wing will determine its life span and performance. A fatigue test of the entire Triton UAS is scheduled for 2017.
The Navy has ordered 68 Triton aircrafts from Northrop Grumman.
The Triton UAS is designed to provide long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the Navy. It is intended to complement manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.