Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have finished the first test flight phase for the company’s Triton unmanned aircraft system in an effort to evaluate how the drone flies at different altitudes, speeds and weights.
The company said Monday 568 test points were evaluated during the initial envelope expansion test program through 13 simulated flight tests, 81 hours of long-endurance flights and at maximum altitudes of 59,950 feet.
“This is a valuable activity because we can review test points in simulated environments that leaves us with less needing to be cleared during actual flight tests,” said Mike Mackey, Triton program director at Northrop.
Flight tests took place at Northrop’s Palmdale, Calif.-based manufacturing facility.
“We’re now working to fly the second test aircraft and then prepare to ferry both aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River,” said Capt. James Hoke, Triton program manager for Naval Air Systems Command.
Triton’s sensor suite is built to help commanders collect images, detect targets with radar, share data and provide airborne communications to warfighters in the field.
Northrop and the Navy will test the sensor payload capability at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.