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Unmanned MQ-4C Triton Begins Anti-Ice Test Flights at Patuxent River

The MQ-4C Triton test team conducted the first flight to assess the unmanned aircraft system’s ability to fly with wing ice accumulation 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.” 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 […]

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