Northrop Grumman Corporation representatives officially turned over the new Triton Mission Control Center Facility to the Navy during a ribbon-cutting ceremony aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville April 25. The event was held in conjunction of the 2018 Maritime Patrol Association Symposium.

“Delivering this main operating base (MOB) to the fleet is a major milestone for the Triton program. Pilots and mission operators will execute Triton missions all over the world from this MOB,” said Doug Shaffer, vice president and Triton program manager, Northrop Grumman. “On behalf of the entire Northrop Grumman family, we are proud and honored to be able to deliver this game changing system to NAS Jacksonville.”

“The cutting of this ribbon officially opens the next chapter of naval aviation,” said Rear Adm. William Wheeler III, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group.  “The men and women of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, operating the MQ-4C Triton, will provide an incredible capability to our fleet commanders from right here at NAS Jacksonville.”

VUP-19, commissioned in October 2016, currently operates out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville and is the Navy’s first unmanned aircraft squadron. VUP-19 pilots, who are certified plane commanders, will fly the new MQ-4C Triton from the mission control center 365 days a year, 24/7 around the world.

The Triton, along with the P-8A Poseidon, are replacing the P-3C Orion, which has patrolled the sea for the Navy since the early 1960s, and the EP-3E Aries II aircraft. The new aircraft will assume the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, while the P-8A continues to focus on anti-submarine warfare.

The first two Triton aircraft have been delivered to Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, California and are scheduled to deploy to Guam later this year.