The Pentagon is significantly increasing the deployment of unmanned aircraft for wartime missions and peacetime surveillance operations.
The deployment helps the military save a nice pile of cash by reducing the number of active pilots. In addition, UAV’s are cheaper to produce and maintain compared to their manned aerial counterparts.
Northrop Grumman recently unveiled its first official images of the US Navy’s new unmanned aircraft, which was specifically designed to survey wide swathes of ocean with a maximum amount of autonomy.
The unmanned craft is dubbed MQ-4C BAMS Triton. The US Navy maintains an active tradition of naming unmanned aircraft after Greek gods of the sea, and Triton was the Greek messenger of the sea, which seems only fitting for a surveillance aircraft.
The UAV boasts a wingspan of 130.9 feet, is powered by a jet engine rather than a propeller, and can cover 2.7 million square miles in a single mission.
The current aircraft pictured above is a prototype demonstrator and is equipped with Maritime sensors to offer the military a glance at the full persisting capabilities the UAVs 360-degree Multi-Function Active Sensor radar will ultimately bring to the Navy’s already formidable fleet.
“Northrop Grumman is proud to provide our US Navy customer with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, a key element of the BAMS UAS program, representing the future of naval aviation and a strategic element of the US Navy,” said Northrop rep Duke Dufresne. “[We expect] the BAMS UAS program will revolutionize persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”