Navy's Triton UAV fleet key to rebalancing Pacific

The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicle made its first official appearance June 14 at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., reports Aviation Week.

The Triton is one of a pair of test and development UAVs that will lead in time to a fleet of 68, which the Navy will eventually pair with 117 Boeing P-8As as it seeks to upgrade its force of 230 Lockheed Martin P-3 patrol and surveillance aircraft, the article said.

“This capability has never been needed more as we rebalance toward the Pacific,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson said in the article. “BAMS will provide an asymmetric advantage to the U.S. Navy. Long-range persistent surveillance transforms the nature of warfare at sea.”

BAMS’ first flight is expected at the end of 2012, with initial operation capability slated for 2015.

In related news, the Navy has not yet announced the cause of the crash of one of five BAMS demonstrator Block 10 aircraft near Bloodsworth Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore June 11, the article noted.

Reader Comments

Tue, Nov 27, 2012

The P-8 purchase has been reduced to 107.

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