Germany acquiring MQ-4C Triton SIGINT UAV

German Armed Forces is acquiring Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for signal Intelligence (SIGINT) role.

U.S State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale of four MQ-4C aircraft for an estimated cost of $2.50 billion.

The German Triton UAS will be a modified version of the US Navy Triton to replace German Navy's five Breguet Atlantique ELINT aircraft retired in 2010.

The German MQ-4C will be equipped with indigenous Hensoldt-made Isis SIGINT system capable of intercepting enemy communications and detecting hostile aerial radar at a high altitude.

Deliveries are expected to commence from 2025.

The SIGINT combines Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Communication Intelligence (COMINT) capabilities.

The Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft designed for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk ISR UAV flown by US Air Force.

In 2013, Germany canceled its RQ-4 Global Hawk based EuroHawk program to replace the Atlantique ELINT fleet, following cost escalation.

Unlike Global Hawk, Triton is designed to rapidly descend to lower altitudes. It is built with a more robust lower fuselage to withstand hail, bird, and lightning strikes. It is equipped with anti-icing systems on its wings.

The prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation Rancho Bernardo, CA, responsible for integration, installation and functional platform compatibility testing of the payload.

Airbus Defence and Space, located in Germany, will be the prime contractor to Germany for the development and manufacturing, and will be responsible for the functional test, end-to-end test and installed performance.

Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the Triton is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2000 nautical miles.

Powered by a single Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, Triton can reach an altitude of more than 55,000 ft and weighs 32,250 lb (14,628 kg).