Menu
The Navy flew its new drone across the US Wednesday night

The Navy flew its new drone across the US Wednesday night

The drone is part of a new Navy system that will provide global coverage of the seas

The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman's California facility.

The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman's California facility.

The U.S. Navy's new surveillance drone completed its first cross-country flight across the United States Wednesday night.

The MQ-4C Triton took off from Northrop Grumman's airfield in Palmdale, California, Wednesday evening and flew along the southern U.S. border and the Gulf of Mexico and Florida before turning north to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

It landed just before 8 a.m. Eastern time, about 11 hours after takeoff, according to Naval Air Systems Command. Northrop Grumman released video of the flight.

The drone was flown by operators who guided it to more than 50,000 feet as it flew along the Atlantic coast, according to the Navy. That's well above civilian airlines that generally fly to around 35,000 feet.

The MQ-4C is part of a U.S. Navy program called Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) that is intended to provide the Navy the ability to keep watch over a large area. BAMS would, according to a U.S. Navy publication, "provide near worldwide coverage through a network of airborne orbits operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

Originally, a fleet of the drones was expected to be in service in December 2015, but that has since been pushed back to sometime in 2017.

After the aircraft's arrival at the Patuxent River base, sensors will be added to the aircraft including a radar that provides a 360-degree view for detecting and identifying ships. Then, tests will commence of the sensor system, the communications on the drone and on an expansion of its maximum altitude.

It will soon be joined by two additional MQ-4C drones that will also take part in the testing.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceU.S. Navy

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments