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US to Deploy Triton Surveillance Drones in Japan This Month

The US military is deploying a pair of MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance drones at Kadena Air Base, Japan, this month.

The Guam-based US Navy drones will be deployed at the US Air Force base until October to “conduct intelligence missions in the Nansei region and its surrounding areas,” Stars and Stripes wrote, quoting a spokeswoman for Okinawa prefecture’s Military Base Affairs Division.

The Nansei islands stretch from Japan’s southernmost main island Kyushu to Taiwan.

It comes amid increased challenges by China to the maritime claims of its neighbors in the East and South China Seas, including the Japan-administered Senkaku islands.

MQ-4C Triton

Northrop Grumman delivered five Tritons to the US Navy last year with plans to provide 22 more.

A squadron of Tritons was deployed in Guam last year following its initial operational capability.

Based on the US Air Force’s Global Hawk, the Triton features a service ceiling of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) and a flight endurance of 24 hours.

It can survey an area of 4 million square nautical miles and is designed to withstand bird hits and power surges from lightning. 

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