The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under development for the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft. Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the system is intended to provide continuous maritime surveillance for the US Navy, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, the Boeing 737-based Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA).
- Crew: Unmanned, 4 per ground station
- Length: 47.6 ft in (14.5 m)
- Wingspan: 130.9 ft in (39.9 m)
- Height: 15.3 ft in (4.7 m)
- Gross weight: 32,250 lb (14,628.4 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan, 6,495-8,917 lbf (28.9-39.7 kN)
- Maximum speed: 357 mph (575 km/h)
- Endurance: 30 hours
- Service ceiling: 60,000 ft (18,288 m)
Contract competitionThe competitors for the contract included:
- Boeing, with an unmanned version of the Gulfstream G550 business jet. It was optionally manned and has "commonality with other Boeing-built naval aircraft."
- Northrop Grumman, with a marinized RQ-4 Global Hawk. In order to begin testing the surveillance package early, Northrop Grumman contracted with Flight Test Associates of the Mojave Spaceport to modify a Grumman Gulfstream II as a flying testbed.
On 22 April 2008, Northrop Grumman received the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance contract worth $1.16 billion. Lockheed Martin filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) two weeks later. On August 11, 2008 the GAO ruled to uphold the Navy’s selection of Northrop Grumman. In September 2010, the BAMS aircraft was designated the MQ-4C.
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