Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, the first Triton UAS squadron, will operate and maintain two aircraft as part of an early operational capability (EOC) to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain.
The Tritons forward-deployed to Guam, both of which have arrived at Andersen Air Force base as of Jan. 26, will fall under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, lead for patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in 7th Fleet.
“The introduction of MQ-4C Triton to the Seventh Fleet area of operations expands the reach of the U.S. Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force in the Western Pacific. Coupling the capabilities of the MQ-4C with the proven performance of P-8, P-3 and EP-3 will enable improved maritime domain awareness in support of regional and national security objectives.”
Capt. Matt Rutherford, commander of CTF-72.
The MQ-4C Triton will conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that will complement the P-8A Poseidon and will bring increased persistence, capability, and capacity through its multi-sensor mission payload.
“The inaugural deployment of Triton UAS brings enhanced capabilities and a broad increase in Maritime Domain Awareness to our forward Fleet commanders. VUP-19, the Navy’s first dedicated UAS squadron supported by an outstanding NAVAIR and industry team, is superbly trained and ready to provide the persistent ISR coverage the Navy needs.”
Rear Adm. Peter Garvin, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group.
Initial operational capability will include four air vehicles with capacity to support 24/7 operations.
About MQ-4C Triton
According to its launch customer, the US Navy, the MQ-4C Triton is an autonomously operated system that provides a persistent maritime ISR capability using multiple maritime sensors.
The MQ-4C Triton air vehicle is based upon the United States Air Force (USAF) RQ-4B Global Hawk, while its sensors are based upon components of (or entire systems) already fielded in the DoD inventory.
Along with the P-8A manned aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton is integral to the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) Family of Systems. The MPRF is the operational agent for the MQ-4C Triton and Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG) is the fleet sponsor for the manned/unmanned integration concept.
Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper identified the requirement for seven high altitude, long endurance Triton unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman will deliver the Triton through a cooperative program with the United States Navy who has itself expressed a need for 70 aircraft. The German Defence Ministry confirmed in March 2017 that it had decided to buy the MQ-4C to replace the EuroHawk program, with deliveries occurring after 2025.
MQ-4C Triton specifications:
- Length: 47 ft 7 in (14.5 m)
- Wingspan: 130 ft 11 in (39.9 m)
- Height: 15 ft 5 in (4.6 m)
- Empty weight: 14,945 lb (6,781 kg)
- Gross weight: 32,250 lb (14,630 kg)
- Maximum speed: 357 mph (575 km/h, 320 kn)
- Range: 9,400 mi (15,200 km, 8,200 nmi)
- Endurance: 30 hours
- Service ceiling: 56,000 ft (17,000 m)