Northrop Grumman [NOC] delivered the first MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the Navy in the Integrated Functional Capability (IFC)-4 configuration on Feb. 1, the company said.
The aircraft was delivered to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of the Triton low-rate initial production (LRIP) schedule goes forward.
“Known as B8, this is the first production Triton to be upgraded to the multi-intelligence configuration to meet the Navy’s critical maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting needs,” the company said in a statement.
The Navy’s fiscal year 2021 budget request included $178.8 million for Triton modernization that covered continued development and integration of the IFC-4 multi-intelligence configuration (Defense Daily, April 30, 2020).
The Navy previously conducted its first test flight of the MQ-4C in the IFC-4 configuration last July at Patuxent River. The service said this adds an enhanced multi-mission sensor capability.
At the time, the Navy said multiple Tritons were modified with the IFC-4 configuration in support of initial operational capability (IOC) set for 2023.
Two MQ-4C aircraft are forward deployed to the 7th Fleet in the baseline IFC-3 configuration.
The Navy intends to use the Tritons to help conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions to complement the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Last October, the Navy announced the two deployed Tritons ended a temporary deployment to Japan and were back at their Guam base (Defense Daily, Oct. 21, 2021).