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U.S. Navy’s EP-3 Replacement Plan Still Raises Concerns

Michael Fabey

May 12, 2016

...“The Navy’s plan has been to replace the EP-3 mostly with the MQ-4 Triton,” says Bryan Clark, defense analyst for the Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. “There are some situations, however, where the need for immediate processing and response requires a human analyst to be monitoring the data in real time. An MQ-4 could be equipped to gather much the same information, but would have to send it home to be processed and analyzed. On a manned aircraft, the analyst can be on board and listen to the incoming signals. This may enable the operator to change the sensor settings to get different information, or recommend a course of action to commanders.” Also, he says, “The MQ-4 may not have enough payload capacity to carry all the sensors an EP-3 can carry, which may require multiple MQ-4s to cover the same mission, or may limit the kinds of data that could be gathered.”

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