Northrop Grumman has delivered the first operational MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, California on Nov. 10.
The aircraft will provide the Navy with unparalleled endurance and 360 degree coverage that allows for a vastly expanded maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission
“This aircraft represents the beginning of a new era for Naval aviation,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, 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 is expected to deliver the second operational Triton aircraft later this year. Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu is home to the maintenance detachment of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)19.
Maintainers will prepare the first two operational Triton aircraft for its employment to Guam, scheduled next year. VUP-19, the Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron, is based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. Pilots and operators will fly the unmanned Triton aircraft from NAS Jacksonville.
The Navy has announced plans to deploy Triton to NAS Mayport, Florida, NAS Sigonella, Italy and the Middle East in the future.
Flying upwards of 55,000 feet for up to 24 hours at a time, Triton provides unprecedented, persistent 360 degree maritime domain awareness through vessel detection, classification and tracking. Triton aircraft can combine to fly an orbit, with one plane on station and another en route, providing the Navy with near-constant coverage of huge swaths of ocean and littorals. The program of record ultimately calls for Northrop Grumman to deliver 68 aircraft to the Navy.
Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under development for the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft.
Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
The aircraft is equipped with a AN/ZPY-3 Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
According to NAVAIR, the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the MQ-4C is now planned for 2018 with Full Operating Capability (FOC) planned in 2023.