First Triton Squadrons Stationed in Guam

First Triton Squadrons Stationed in Guam

The U.S. Navy is preparing to house its first squadron of MQ-4C Triton drones in Guam by the end of 2017, service officials said.

In addition to being stationed in Guam, Tritons will also be based in the eastern and western U.S., a location in the Middle East and in Sicily, Italy, Navy leaders said.

The Triton UAS is an intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance drone with specially configured maritime sensors and radar systems.  The 45 foot-long, 32,000-pound aircraft has a wingspan of 131 feet.


The Navy is flight testing the drone at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif. The MQ-4Cs airframe is based on the Global Hawk except that it has been tailored to function in a maritime environment, said Capt. Jim Hoke, Triton program manager.

For instance, the Triton is built with a thicker, more stiffened wing compared to the Global Hawk to enable the aircraft to rapidly change altitude in adverse or icy weather conditions, he added.

“You’ve got to test the airframe. You have to take it through a series of climbs and descents. You’ve got to test the performance of the engine and make sure that all the analysis being done ahead of time will actually prove out in flight tests,” Hoke said. “You have to check all the communication links to make sure the pilots on the ground in the box are operating the aircraft.”

Hoke said the Navy is also separately testing the Triton’s software and sensor systems by flying them in a surrogate Gulfstream 2 airplane.

“What we’re doing is maturing that radar and software so that when we integrate it on Triton it is a much more mature system than you would have had otherwise,” Hoke said.

The Triton’s electronics include an electro-optical/infrared sensor, a 360-degree active electronically scanned array radar and inverse synthetic aperture radar, among other things.

The sensor package being designed for the aircraft included what the Navy calls a multi-function array sensor, or MFAS, a sensor system specially configured to function in a maritime environment.

Designed to function as a maritime version of the Air Force’s Global Hawk surveillance plane, the Triton is designed for high-altitude, long-dwell ISR missions – the kind of technology suited for the geographically dispersed Pacific theater. The Air Force already has RQ-4 Global Hawks stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

“The Triton brings endurance, altitude, range and persistent stare ability. We can stay out for over 24 hours at altitudes greater than 50,000 feet. We can cover more than two million square miles out on the ocean in a single mission,” said Hoke.

The idea is to provide ship commanders with an ability to detect and see targets, threats and items of interest in real time from great distances using the sensors, cameras and data-links of the Triton system.

Join the Conversation

“We can cover more than 200 square miles out on the ocean in a single mission”,
Is this a miss print. Seams like from 50k altitude you could see much further?

And what happens them an enemy airframe fire an AA Missile or an Enemy Frigate or Destroyer a SAM one the non-stealthy, non-armed and slow MQ-4C? The MQ4C will be a good Platform for the Coast Guard in order to combat drug smuggler but I didn’t see what sense the MQ4 will have in a war in the Pacific and them they speak about Guam they logically speak about the Chinese threat. The P8 Poseidon instead can carry 5 × Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Anti-ship missiles against enemy surface targets or drop Mark 54 MAKO Torpedo’s against enemy Submarines as water mines and internally and also 4 × Boeing AGM-84L or 4X Boeing AGM-84K against land targets externally. With other Words the P8 Poseidon is a real and dangerous Weapon capable to fight and win in High-intensity Wars and all potential wars in the Pacific will be High-intensity Wars the MQ4C instead is just an expensive target drone without any weapon payload or sense and as I said it cost a lot 189 Million dollar (including R&D) or 137 Million dollar without R&D included in compare a P8 Poseidon cost 201 Million without R&D or 276 Million (with R&D). Another example for the price of just 4X MQ4C you can maintain the 300 Airframe Strong Fleet of A10 how should be retired. The MQ-4 looks for me like a flaying LCS (useless and costly).

Would not the P-8 be vulnerable to the same missiles as the RQ-4C? SAMs carried on ships can have a longer range that anything in the Harpoon family. As far as offensive operations in a contested environment, the 737 airframe makes a great target. I do not believe the P-8 does not carry anywhere near the same sensor suite as the RQ-4,. If the –4C performs anything like the USAF counterpart, the 200 sq mi number must be a misprint.

I don’t agree. It’s not because the RQ4 is not designed to take down target that it deserve to be compared to the LCS. In high threat environment, you definitely want to send an RQ-4 because unlike the P-8, it doesn’t have a crew and is much less expensive. The RQ-4 is designed to loiter whereas the P-8 can’t last that long. With a weigh of 32,000 lbs, it seems to have the capacity to carry a lot of sensors.

Unless they made a drone that cost more to operate than a modified 737 (fuel and maintenance wise) the RQ-4 got a lot of advantages.

The LCS in contrast just doesn’t have what it takes to be sent in the danger. It’s designed to operate from distance and got dangerously limited firepower.

Typo: it’s not an RQ-4 but an MQ-4C.

200 Square Miles, seems a little short on flight time.150 out and 150 back. That is BAD, want my money back please

First It is true what the P8 is vulnerable against SAMs but not nearly as vulnerable as the MQ-4C how didn’t have any countermeasures and a bigger RCS and also no Armament to strike back or first. The P8 instead has the capabilities with the Boeing AGM-84L to attack enemy surface combatants at a range of 200 km and this is a greater range them the most existent enemy SAM systems how are installed one surface Combatant’s for example the max effective range of the most advance Chinese (Type 51C/D) Air Destroyer is up to 150km (S300FM). The most Chinese Surface Warships are equipped with SAM system how have a much smaller effective range for example with the SA-N-12 Grizzly (max range up to 40km) the largest part have even Sam System with less capable SAMs like the HQ7.But the real Point is what the MQ4C cost nearly as much as a P8 Poseidon but has no weapons instead and as consequence it is just a nice to have so for example India refused to buy the MQ4C with the P8I and ask for a more advanced version of the P8 instead because why they saw what the MQ4C is in a High Intensity War useless. The MQ4C cannot hunt Submarine’s, it cannot even detect them it also cannot attack enemy Surface Combatants and it is also vulnerable as reconnaissance airframe. Them the MQ4 for example has just cost a fourth of the price of a P8 and the Navy has purchased hundreds of them it has made sense because why they there just a dispensable support unit for the P8 but at a price tag of 130 to 180 Million a MQ4C nearly as much as a P8 without any benefits. It is like as with the U2 and the RQ4 Block 30 the USAF develop and buy them because why they there cool and “cheap” only to find out what they are in real less capable them the 50 Years+ old U2 and also much more expensive and even more vulnerable them the U2. The MQ4C base on the RQ4 it is better said the same airframe with a different name and different sensors but with all shortcoming’s. Instead of crap like the MQ4 the Navy should focus one Equipment what have real potential so for example one a stealthy UCAV like the X-47B or better said one a larger Version of the X-47B the C Version how is stealthy, has weapons and also a huge endurance. So only to reaped the MQ4C is a product of an era of misguided requirement’s let’s call it the War on Terror era how produced crap like the useless LCS and a big amount of non-stealthy, slow and vulnerable unmanned Airframes how prove to be completely useless them you have to face real threats like China, Russian and all is Proxies how are armed with Weapon’s how are more advance them a AK47. So instead of buying 40 MQ4C the US-navy should buy 40 additional P8 or invest the money in an operational stealthy UCAV like the X-47.

“”“I don’t agree. It’s not because the RQ4 is not designed to take down target that it deserve to be compared to the LCS. In high threat environment, you definitely want to send an RQ-4 because unlike the P-8, it doesn’t have a crew and is much less expensive. The RQ-4 is designed to loiter whereas the P-8 can’t last that long. With a weigh of 32,000 lbs, it seems to have the capacity to carry a lot of sensors. “”””

Not really the only advantage of the MQ4C is the longer endurance in compare to the P8 but as said it has no capabilities to attack enemy targets so them you detect an enemy you will be forced to send another airframe to attack it. The other Problem is the high-cost tag of the MQ4C how cost fly away nearly 140 Million Dollar far too high to be a dispensable tool in your inventory and them you also include other Cost how are needed to operate the MQ4C like the multibillion Communication satellite’s (how can easily shut down or at last jammed and you have only 6 of them in Orbit) and the Control-Station like the need for a additional supply line you will came to the conclusion what the MQ4C will easily surpass the Price-tag of a P8 Poseidon. Another Problem is what the MQ4C base on the RQ4 how has proved to be less capable them the U2 as Reconnaissance Plane and also much expensive. And at last the Navy will purchase only 40 so you will have not much room for loses in a War and in time of a limited budget and far more advanced Demonstrator’s like the stealthy X47B the MQ4C looks like a Product of a different era and this is exactly what it is.

“”“The LCS in contrast just doesn’t have what it takes to be sent in the danger. It’s designed to operate from distance and got dangerously limited firepower. “”””

The LCS is simply a shame, from concept it was designed to go close to the enemy (Littoral environment) but it didn’t have any Weapon’s. So let’s be honest a 57mm Gun is a joke like as the Griffin Missiles how have the same effective range like the 57mm Gun and no more punch them a Javelin Anti-Tank Missile not to speak about the other shortcomings of the LCS. Possible what you are right what I go a bit too far to compare the MQ4C with the LCS how cannot be toped as crap but they share a lot of commonalities.

I think that means the area they can search is 200 square miles. That’s not the flight range.

200mi range is for simultaneous positive ID of any threat around the carrier battle group.. just like the E2D.. but this lil tech marvel doesn’t have a huge dish on the top of it. I’m sure it provides an additional layer of intel over what we already have. Don’t worry, if it gets shot down it won’t put us out of the fight, just take us from super duper xray vision down to ‘hawkeye’ vision heheh.

“Why” guam is an island.for gods sake.

From What I have be reading lately is the Navy is preparing the Triton Squadrons to be the eyes, ears,and targeting arrays for its long range weapons. Example, a triton sees an enemy target and sends target information to all nearby ships. The ship that gets the mission fires weapon( say tomahawk anti-ship missile) at enemy target 700 miles away. The firing ship sees and receives updated target information for tomahawk from the triton until end game.

Actually, I think he meant the search radius is over 200nm, meaning the aircraft can search something over 120,000 square miles at once. Put another way, with a search width of 400nm and a speed of, lets say 300kts, then the aircraft could search something like 3 million square miles in a single flight, although it will probably loiter in specific places, hence the persistence part, as opposed to conducting an area search.

GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES

” the 200 sq mi number must be a misprint.” i was thinking the same thing

That is a good one, putting them in the Pacific, as Russia is invading the Ukraine.

“For instance, the Triton is built with a thicker, more stiffened wing compared to the Global Hawk to enable the aircraft to rapidly change altitude in adverse or icy weather conditions, he added.” Stop the BS. Nope…the stiffened wing is to make sure all the ordnance that needs to be loaded on the aircraft.…can be…and will be able to be launched.

BTW the P-8A has air refueling, so its loiter time can be increased.

200 million square miles the article says.

Many people are quoting 200 square miles when at the end of the article it says 2 million square miles.

How can we keep giving out billion dollar contracts and say we are cutting back?

Until one engine goes out then it’s time to go home and it can not loiter like a P-3 can.

This thing weighs 16 tons?

I see what you are saying but it has to be incorrect. 200 million square miles is the entire surface area of the planet earth (197 million square miles).

I’m crazy, never mind

Read the last paragraph 2 million square miles. Huge difference.

It should be 2000

The stiffer wing is to handle the additional anti-icing equipment, the added fuel (because its heavier than GH) and the longer wing (15 ft longer on each side than GH). Hard Points are to support sonar bouys, not ordinance. Get your facts straight before you spout off.

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.