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The U.S. Navy stopped work four months ago on a crucial part of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned air system and is working to find a substitute, service and industry officials confirm. The Exelis Air-to-Air Radar Subsystem (AARSS) sense-and-avoid radar project was halted April 25 due to technical problems and cost overruns, the Navy said last week.
A sense-and-avoid capability is “vital” to the MQ-4C, according to Tom Vice, president of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems segment. Triton is designed to operate in oceanic airspace, where there is no outside radar surveillance. The radar or an equivalent sensor is required so the UAS can avoid colliding with a “non-cooperative” aircraft that is not using any other collision-avoidance system.
“This is hard stuff,” he added. “The first UAS with no-kidding sense and avoid is hard stuff.”