Northrop Grumman is flight testing a radar system that will provide its Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with 360-degree views of ocean and coastal regions.
(Triton UAS. Photo, courtesy of Northrop Grumman.)
Currently the manufacturer is using a Gulfstream II surrogate aircraft to perform "risk-reduction tests" of the Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) off the California coast-line. The active, electronically and mechanically scanned array radar uses a combination of electronic scanning and mechanical rotation to allow the radar to provide maritime surveillance for smaller targets.
"Surrogate flights have allowed us to mature the MFAS radar's capabilities and merge the data with information received from other sensors and equipment that will also be used on Triton," said Mike Mackey, director of the Triton UAS program at Northrop Grumman. "By gathering this information in real and simulated environments, we can refine how an operator sees data while tasking the system in flight."
When completed, the Triton's full sensor suite will have the capability to monitor up to 2,000 nautical miles at a time, according to a statement from Northrop Grumman.
Flight tests of the radar system will continue through the end of this year, with Northrop planning to install the MFAS on its first test Triton aircraft in the Spring of 2014 to allow for further onboard testing.
The company is under contract to produce 68 Triton aircraft to replace the Navy's aging fleet of maritime patrol aircraft.
Related: Military Avionics News