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Triton ‘invaluable' to Indo-Pacific ops, says US Navy

The US Navy (USN) has described its recently deployed Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime System (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as being “invaluable” to its Indo-Pacific operations.

One of two Tritons seen taxiing at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) on the island of Guam, from where the unmanned aircraft has been flying in support of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet since January.

The observation was made on 11 May, weeks after the naval variant-RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAVs arrived at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) on the island of Guam for the type’s first operational deployment.

“Three months after [their] arrival [announced on 26 January], two Tritons are quickly becoming an invaluable asset across the Indo-Pacific region, integrating into a series of missions that showcase [their] increasing range and flight time,” the navy said.

Operated by Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)-19 (the navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron), the Tritons on Guam are flying under the control of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72. CFT 72 is the lead for patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in the US Navy’s 7th Fleet.

As noted by the navy when the Tritons first deployed, coupling the capabilities of the unmanned MQ-4C with the manned Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), the Lockheed P-3 Orion MMA and the Lockheed EP-3 special mission aircraft is enabling improved maritime domain awareness in support of regional and national security objectives.

Further to its operational support of CTF 72, VUP-19 is using its inaugural deployment to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain.

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