ThinKom Solutions, Inc. announced that Northrop Grumman has specified a ThinAir® Ka2517 phased-array satellite antenna to provide beyond-line-of-sight connectivity for its MQ-4C Triton flying test bed (FTB).

Northrop Grumman uses a twin-engine Gulfstream IV as an FTB for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance maritime surveillance system. The FTB is outfitted with the core mission payload capabilities that are on the Triton unmanned aircraft and is used to demonstrate current capabilities, provide risk reduction for new capabilities and serve as a developmental test bed for emerging capabilities.

Based on ThinKom’s patented VICTS technology, the Ka2517 is a commercial off-the-shelf wideband satellite antenna system, which provides global pole-to-pole in-flight connectivity with extremely high throughput rates using military and commercial Ka-Band satellite networks. Ka2517s are operational on hundreds of commercial airliners and military aircraft with industry-leading MTBF metrics.

“The Ka2517 antenna is modem- and network-agnostic, enabling voice, data and streaming video with seamless interoperability on GEO and NGSO constellations. It also has the RF performance to operate effectively using frequency-hopping protected waveforms and supports industry-leading low probability of intercept and low probability of detection requirements,” said Bill Milroy, CTO and chairman of ThinKom.

Initial flights of the Triton FTB with the ThinKom antenna are expected to take place in the second quarter of 2022.