Northrop Grumman has entered into a contract with the U.S. Navy to prototype and reduce the risk of integrating sense and avoid (SAA) capabilities into the high-altitude, long-endurance MQ-4C Triton UAS (unmanned aerial system). SAA capabilities will allow the UAS to safely operate in shared airspace with manned aircraft.
Northrop Grumman is partnering with Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS), LLC., a joint venture of L3Harris and Thales, in the development of these new SAA capabilities. The two companies have been collaborating closely with Naval Air Systems Command for more than five years in the development and evaluation of SAA technology, and have worked together to contribute to the development of SAA-related industry standards.
Sense and avoid is a focus of the next developmental increment of the MQ-4C UAS, and a critical element of the cooperative development program requirements defined between the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.
Doug Shaffer, vice president and program manager for the Triton programs at Northrop Grumman, commented: “Sense and avoid will help ensure our customers can safely operate Triton out of almost any airfield or airport in the world, in full compliance with current and emerging aviation regulations around the globe. Incorporating SAA capability will add tremendous flexibility to the Triton system and how the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and potential future customers seamlessly integrate Triton into their concepts of operation.”
Steve Alwin, ACSS president and vice president of engineering, said: “As a leader in integrated Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast systems, we are actively driving innovation in operational efficiency and airspace safety for the emerging unmanned aircraft platforms. Our sense and avoid solutions enable active collision avoidance, empowering them to operate safely in commercial airspace.”