The US Navy has redeployed the MQ-4C Triton squadron on Guam after the reconnaissance drone achieved initial operational capability (IOC).
Its previous deployment lasted two and a half years, from May 2020 to October 2022, as part of the MQ-4C’s early operational capability.
Northrop has delivered five Tritons to the navy with plans to provide 22 more by fiscal 2024, according to USNI News.
This is a drastic reduction from the original procurement plan of 70, the outlet added.
Initial Operational Capability
“After assembling lessons learned from Triton’s initial deployment to Guam, the MQ-4C received significant updates including an upgraded sensor suite,” Naval Air Forces said in a press release.
“These enhancements increase Triton’s ability to provide a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting capability alongside the P-8A Poseidon as a key component of the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Family of Systems.”
A platform receives IOC after demonstrating enhanced joint, distributed maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting operations.
It is the first capability attainment to employ the platform by the squadron.
Based on the US Air Force’s Global Hawk, the Triton supports maritime patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue, and communications relay.
Its long-range sensors can detect, classify, and track targets beyond the detection range of adversary vessels and surface-to-air missiles.
It features a service ceiling of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) and a flight endurance of 24 hours.
It can survey an area of 4 million square nautical miles in a 24-hour mission.
“Leveraging all the lessons we learned from our first deployment to Guam, Triton is poised to bring significant improvements that will increase its effectiveness in the battlespace, enabling our manned-unmanned team to maintain awareness in the maritime domain,” Patrol and Reconnaissance Group Commander Rear Adm. Adam Kijek added.
“The Indo-Pacific theater is the ideal arena to demonstrate the advanced capabilities that Triton brings to our Fleet Commanders and the nation.”