The Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. Triton is specially designed to fly surveillance missions up to 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles, allowing coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. (Bob Brown/Northrop Grumman via Navy)
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PALMDALE, CALIF. — An unmanned jet built for Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions has made its first flight May 22.
Northrop Grumman Corp. says the MQ-4C Triton took off from Palmdale, Calif., Wednesday and completed a 90-minute flight.
The aircraft is designed to fly missions lasting up to 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing coverage out 2,000 nautical miles.
The prime contractor says the Tritonís suite of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors can detect and classify different types of ships, provide high-resolution imagery, and airborne communications and information-sharing among military units.
With a wingspan greater than 130 feet, itís expected to be able to fly 11,500 miles without refueling.
Test flights will continue in California before moving to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Navy plans anticipate building 68 Tritons.