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US Navy’s New Triton Drone Clears Operational Test

© Photo : U.S. Navy / Kelly SchindlerThe MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system
The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system - Sputnik International
Completing the operational assessment clears the way for the Triton to be approved for low rate initial production, Northrop Grumman said.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The MQ-4C Triton unmanned drone has successfully completed operational assessment, and pending final data analysis, clearing the way for it to enter initial production, Northrop Grumman announced in a news release.

"Operational assessment for Triton included several flights… demonstrated its readiness to meet the Navy's maritime intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance needs," Northrop Grumman Vice President for Triton Systems Doug Shaffer said in the release on Tuesday.

Completing the operational assessment clears the way for the Triton to be approved for low rate initial production, the release explained.

"The aircraft system's ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined… Successful evaluation of Triton's time on station confirmed that it will meet flight duration requirements," the release added.

The US Navy is expanding its use of unmanned drones as a far cheaper and more cost effective alternative to manned operational surveillance flights, especially as they can be carried in large numbers on much smaller ships than manned aircraft require.

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