This is some serious surveillance.
The U.S. Navy will soon be getting a drone so large, its wingspan is wider than a Boeing 757 jet. The Triton MQ-4C is capable of wide-ranging surveillance. The unmanned aircraft can fly up to 50,000 feet to surveil as much as 2,000 square miles of ocean using 360-degree radar technology and high-definition, infrared cameras, says Warren Comer, a spokesman for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which is developing the drone for the Navy.
Another asset of the flying robot, Comer said, is endurance: The Triton can soar over the ocean for up to 28 hours at a time, traveling up to 11,500 miles before it must refuel. The Navy plans to order 68 for $1.6 billion, Comer said, and Northrop Grumman, working with the Navy, has already completed nine successful test flights of the Triton.
Perhaps comforting to some, the Triton won't be dropping any bombs. The Big-Brother-esque surveillance apparatus is completely unarmed.
Look: The Navy's new Triton drone (lower right), compared to other manned and unmanned aircraft.
(hat tip Wired)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of the Navy's drone order with Northrup Grumman. The exact amount of the purchase also has been added.