Saturday, September 20, 2014

✈ Huge Super Drone MQ-4C Triton Bigger Than a 737 ✈

This is the Huge Unmanned Navy Drone MQ-4C Triton that is bigger than a Boeing 737, and it now takes to the skies for flight across America. Scroll down for the transcontinental flight video.

The new Super Drone is supposed to be used in fleet operations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, as well as the Atlantic. It is part of the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program.

The airliner-sized Super Navy surveillance drone made it's first transcontinental flight on Wednesday night, when it flew 11 hours across the United States from Southern California crossing the Gulf of Mexico and Florida before landing Thursday morning at a Navy base in Maryland.

The unmanned super drone flew above 50,000 feet (above 15 km) to avoid commercial air traffic and  after 11 hours it had covered 3,290 miles and landed safely in Maryland.

MQ-4C Triton Gigantic 737 Size Spy Plane Lands US Navy Super Drone
The massive MQ-4C landing on Thursday morning in Maryland after flying overnight from California
In comparisson the Lockheed U2 Spy aircraft fly at an altitude at or above 70,000 feet and the SR-71 Blackbird when it was still in use flew at a service ceiling of 85,000 feet and above. But the reported max altitude of the MQ-4C at 56,500 feet is still way up there.

The high altitude attained is due to it's large 130-foot wingspan and that also gives capacity for 28 hours of flying time, the super drone can cover up to 1 million square miles of ocean at a time.

The cross-country test was the first for the MQ-4C Triton, and it will play a role in the Navy's planned Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program.

The Triton left from an airfield in Palmdale, California, at Northrop Grumman, which manufactures the aircraft, crossing the Gulf of Mexico before tracking up the Atlantic coast and landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Triton uses 'radar, infrared sensors and advanced cameras to provide full-motion video and photographs' to Navy personnel. Northrop Grumman says the unmanned aircraft also has a capacity to fly up to 28 hours at a time and surveil 1 million square miles in a single mission.

MQ-4C Triton Gigantic 737 Size Spy Plane US Navy Super Drone Unmanned Aircraft Military Surveillance
MQ-4C Triton Gigantic 737 Size Spy Plane US Navy Super Drone Unmanned Aircraft Military Surveillance
The huge wingspan of 130 feet, makes the Triton wider than commercial airliners such as the Boeing 737.

Once operational, the drone will join the manned P-8 Poseidon, which was part of search operations for Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean. Unmanned aircraft do the 'dull, dirty or dangerous' work for the military, including surveillance of large swaths of empty ocean

According to Ars Technica, the Navy is also looking for carrier-based attack drones, with Naval Air Systems Command soliciting proposals for an unmanned aircraft capable of both surveillance and air strikes in April.

Surveillance drones have attracted their share of criticism as the military has been reluctant to offer transparency on their use or safety record.

The ACLU says both the military and the FAA refuse to release data on drone crashes.

In 2012, a RQ-4A Global Hawk, an earlier unmanned aircraft built by Northrop Grumman, crashed during training exercises in an unpopulated area near Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

MQ-4C Triton Super Drone Specifications
  • Wingspan: 130.9ft (39.9m)
  • Length: 47.6ft (14.5m)
  • Height: 15.4ft (4.6m)
  • Gross Take-off Weight: 32,250lbs (14,628kg)
  • Max. Internal Payload: 3,200lbs (1,452kg)
  • Max. External Payload: 2,400lbs (1,089kg)
  • Max. Altitude: 56,500ft (17.22km)
  • Max. Velocity: 331 knots
  • Max. Flight Endurance: 28 hours
  • Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine
  • 360-degree field of regard sensors
  • Multi-function electronically steered radar
  • Electro-optical and infrared targeting system
  • Electronic Support Measures to track and identify electronic signals

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