The Navy conducted its first test flight of the MQ-4C Triton in its upgraded hardware and software configuration July 29 at NAS Patuxent River, beginning the next phase of the unmanned aircraft’s development.
The MQ-4C Triton flew in its new configuration, known as Integrated Functional Capability (IFC)-4, which will bring an enhanced multi-mission sensor capability as part of the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (MISR&T) transition plan.
Triton’s Integrated Test Team (ITT) comprised of the U.S. Navy, Australian cooperative partners, and government/industry teams completed a functional check flight and initial aeromechanical test points, demonstrating stability and control of the MQ-4C after a 30-month modification period.
Multiple Triton assets have been modified into the IFC-4 configuration in support of IOC in 2023. A single test asset is in the current IFC-3 configuration to support sustainment of deployed systems as well as risk reduction for IFC-4.
Currently, two MQ-4C Triton aircraft in the baseline configuration known as IFC-3 are forward deployed to 7th Fleet in support of early operational capability (EOC) and Commander Task Force (CTF)-72 tasking. VUP-19 will operate Triton to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain.
Triton is the first high altitude, long endurance aircraft that can conduct persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to complement the P-8 in the maritime domain. The Navy plans to deploy Triton to five orbits worldwide.