Northrop Grumman announced it has delivered the first operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft to the US Navy facility at Point Mugu.
The company also said it expects 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.
“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.”
The navy has earlier 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 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.