First Operational MQ-4C Triton delivered to U.S. Navy
Northrop Grumman has made successful delivery of the first operational MQ-4C Triton to a U.S. Navy facility at Point Mugu.
Triton will enable the U.S. Navy to bolster its maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) agenda. A second operational aircraft is set to be delivered by Northrop Grumman before the end of the year.
Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu currently houses the maintenance contingent of Unmanned Patrol Squadron VUP-19. These engineers will ready the aircraft for initial deployment in Guam next year.
But the remainder of VUP-19 – the U.S. Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron – operates out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida. From here VUP-19 pilots will operate the unmanned aircraft remotely.
Able to soar upwards of 55,000 feet for 24 hours at a time, Triton provides 360 degree situational awareness with vessel detection, classification and tracking. Two aircraft can combine to fly in orbit, with one on station and a second en route, providing the U.S. Navy with near-constant coverage of the ocean and littorals.
“This aircraft represents the beginning of a new era for Naval aviation,” said Doug Shaffer, Vice President of Triton Programmes at Northrop Grumman. “Triton is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned system that delivers a critical autonomous capability to the Navy, expanding the service’s maritime patrol mission. We are proud to be a part of this historic program.”
Northrop Grumman has been contracted to deliver 68 Triton aircraft to the U.S. Navy. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has made public plans to deploy the aircraft to NAS Mayport in Florida, NAS Sigonella in Italy and in the Middle East.
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