MQ-4C UAV Achieves IOC, Back for Second Deployment
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton reached a Navy declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on Aug. 3, and the UAV is back in Guam for another deployment, the service and the company said on Sept. 9. It is estimated that the UAV has undergone sensor upgrades since the early declaration.
The MQ-4C is tasked with real-time intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance over extended maritime and coastal areas. It has a range of 30 hours (or 15,186 kilometres) and can fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet at a speed of 575 kilometres per hour. Along with the P-8 Poseidon naval cooperation aircraft, they will gradually replace the ageing P-3C Orion and EP-3E Aries II. Operationally, the MQ-4Cs will undertake intelligence-gathering missions, and the first aircraft will continue to serve as part of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, since January 2020.