Saturday, June 22, 2024

US Navy conducts anti-ice test of MQ-4C Triton

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has announced that the MQ-4C Triton test team conducted the first flight to assess the unmanned aircraft system’s ability to fly with wing ice accumulation on Jan. 25 at Patuxent River.

This was the first of approximately 15 flights planned through spring 2023 that will clear Triton to fly in icing conditions.

“Triton’s ability to fly in icing conditions is a top priority for the fleet,” said Capt. Josh Guerre, MQ-4C Triton Program Manager. “The greater ability we have to fly in harsh weather conditions, the more capability we can provide to the fleet.”

- ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW -

In late 2022, the Integrated Test Team (ITT) installed 3D-printed nylon ice shape blocks designed to simulate ice accumulation on the wings and V-tail if the aircraft were to fly through moderate icing. The orange-colored ice shapes are coated with a coarse grit that makes them textured and rough like ice that accumulates on the inside of a freezer, said Amanda Marge, MQ-4C Triton lead test engineer.

“The objective is to verify that there’s sufficient stability and control in order to remove the restrictions in the flight clearance for flying in icing conditions – which could significantly increase the fleet’s sortie rate,” she said.

During the initial flight, the team executed basic flying qualities maneuvers such as control surface pulses, sideslips, and sustained turns at 20,000 feet. The team will analyze data from the flight to confirm that the aircraft responds as predicted to inputs and that the team can safely proceed with further testing. As flights continue, the average planned duration for ice shape testing will increase to approximately five hours.

Triton will fly with this simulated ice accumulation on the wings throughout points in the operational envelope to determine the impact on aircraft flying qualities and performance. The testing will enable MQ-4C transits through moderate icing later this year. “This timeline will support deployment of the latest MQ-4C multi-Iintelligence variant,” Guerre said.

The MQ-4C Triton is a long-endurance, high-altitude UAS that provides up to 24 hours of flight time. It is currently conducting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions overseas.

If you would like to show your support for what we are doing, here's where to do it.

If you wish to report grammatical or factual errors within our news articles, you can let us know by using the online feedback form.

Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

TRENDING NOW

Singapore’s new combat vehicle ready for production

Shephard News has reported that a new Singaporean combat vehicle is “ready for production”. According to the report, the latest member of the Singapore-based ST...