The Navy’s MQ-4C Triton aerial drones deployed to Guam last month for their second deployment in the Pacific theater, according to the sea service.
The unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft wrapped up their first deployment out of Guam in October and have since received an upgraded sensor suite that increased the capability of the drones, which are operated by Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19, Naval Air Forces said in a release this week.
Officials declined to say how many Tritons were deployed to Guam, citing operational security.
The squadron will operate the Tritons out of Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base as part of the platform’s initial operating capability. Their prior deployment involved trips to Japan to refine the concept of operations for expeditionary basing.
The Triton and VUP-19 have been rotating through Guam and U.S. 7th Fleet since 2020 as tactics, techniques and procedures have been honed and perfected.
Officials have previously said they hope drones like the Triton can eventually handle the bulk of the Navy’s surveillance and reconnaissance workload, freeing up the manned P-8 Poseidon aircraft for more complex anti-submarine warfare missions.
Tritons can fly for more than 24 hours at a time at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of more than 8,000 nautical miles, according to their manufacturer, Northrup Grumman.
Correction: an earlier version of this story misstated when the first Triton deployment to Guam wrapped up. That deployment ended in October 2022.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at [email protected].