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

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceU.S. Navy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?