First serial B8 multi-intelligence UAS with IFC4 goes to US Navy
WASHINGTON — Northrop Gruman announced that on January 1, the first mass-produced multi-reconnaissance drone MQ-4C Triton [B8] was accepted into service at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. MQ-4C Triton is designed for real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] over the large ocean and sea areas, or over long coastlines.
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The new UAS is equipped with sophisticated software and hardware configuration, better known as IFC-4. This upgrade will allow the MQ-4C Triton to take over in the coming years and replace the Navy’s EP-3E Orion electronic reconnaissance aircraft. The EP-3E Orion currently has Minotaur mission systems. IFC-4 is also equipped with this system.
Minotaur mission systems included architecture, radars, sensors, control and command components, as well as devices for cybernetics, surveillance, and intelligence. They allow the MQ-4C Triton to collect and process information in an extremely short time, sharing it with other platforms, be it naval, land or air. Experts claim that the process of overlapping the two planes will begin in 2023.
The United States plans to acquire 68 MQ-4C Tritons in the coming years. According to a report by Northrup Gruman, the MQ-4C Triton is capable of continuous reconnaissance within 24 hours, at an altitude of 10 miles, and with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.
BulgarianMilitary.com expanded the search to more information about the MQ-4C Triton and learned that according to Capt. Dan Mackin, the Navy’s Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems program manager, Northrop will upgrade its UAS with broadband network technology for tactical guidance and radar identification in the coming years. These updates will allow the MQ-4C Triton to identify targets during reconnaissance missions to be attacked by other US military platforms.
Upgrades to the MQ-4C Triton will be made continuously. For example, in the period 2027-2028, the drone is expected to be able to operate without access to GPS and satellite communications. MQ-4C Triton will receive artificial intelligence, but it is not clear from the statement of Capt. Whether Dan Mackin no longer has it because of IFC-4, or whether it will be developed and integrated into the aircraft.
The integration of IFC-4 into MQ-4C Triton means that the US Navy must also make changes. According to Capt. Dan Mackin naval mission control centers must be upgraded with separate special intelligence facilities, which have completely separate protection of intelligence, sources, and methods.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the Navy conducted its first test flight of the MQ-4C Triton in its upgraded hardware and software configuration July 29, 2021, at NAS Patuxent River.
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