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US Navy declares IOC for its new MQ-4C Triton recon UAS

Photo: Northrop Grumman

The US Navy officially declared the initial operating capability (IOC) of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s multi-intelligence MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, September 14.

Since its Early Operational Capability (EOC) milestone in May 2020, the MQ-4C Triton has operated within the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, conducting maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in the US Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility as the Navy’s only uncrewed, high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft.

The MQ-4C Triton, manufactured for use by the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force, supports a diverse array of missions. These encompass maritime patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue operations, as well as communications relay tasks.

According to the producer, these aircraft deliver persistent surveillance capabilities, aiding in forecasting adversary actions and facilitating more effective joint military efforts and undertakings.

Operating at altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet and boasting a 24-hour endurance, Triton serves as a continuous communications relay hub, ensuring connectivity among dispersed Navy units while enabling commanders to operate with a shared operational overview.

“Triton has proven to be invaluable for the maritime patrol and reconnaissance mission in the Indo-Pacific. Now that the system has achieved initial operating capability, commanders will be able to fully leverage Triton’s powerful sensor suite to detect and deter potential adversaries around the world,” said Rho Cauley Bruner, director, Triton program, Northrop Grumman.

“Persistent global maritime awareness is central to deterring, or competing and winning against, our adversaries. Triton ensures we’re making informed decisions and effectively operating anywhere in the world,” added Capt. Josh Guerre, Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems program manager, US Navy.

Northrop Grumman has supplied the US Navy with a total of five Triton aircraft equipped with multi-intelligence capabilities, with the most recent delivery occurring in June 2023.