The U.S. Navy hosted a ceremony Thursday at Point Mogu in California to mark the start of flight operations for the Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system.
Northrop said Friday the Unmanned Patrol Squadron-19’s maintenance detachment will test and conduct training on two MQ-4Cs before the service branch deploys the UAS units to Guam in late 2018.
A newly refurbished hangar at the Point Mogu facility is built to house a maximum of four Triton systems.
Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., said the aircraft will serve as a key component of future Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
MQ-4C Triton is designed to operate for up to 24 hours at an altitude of up to 55,000 feet and transmit images and videos to commanders worldwide.
Navy Rear Adm. William Wheeler III participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hangar with Brian Chappel, vice president and general manager of Northrop’s autonomous systems business, and Doug Shaffer, vice president of Triton programs at the company.