WLOX-TV Biloxi

Ocean Aero showcases TRITON Underwater and Surface Vehicle at grand opening

By Leslie Rojas

GULFPORT Miss. (WLOX) - Two years have passed since the company Ocean Aero relocated to Gulfport from San Diego, California.

The company celebrated the grand opening of its headquarters in the port of Gulfport.

“It’s an exciting day to be on the port of Gulfport. We are cutting the ribbon for our newest tenant Ocean Aero. They are establishing their headquarters and manufacturing facility right here on the port,” Gulfport Port CEO Jon Nass said.

The only company in the world that created the world’s first and only autonomous underwater and surface vehicle is operating out of Gulfport.

The vehicles, also called TRITONs, collect data both above and below the ocean surface. The information can be valuable for the U.S. military.

“The autonomous vehicles today are what we call distributed power. It takes a lot of money and time to build these capital ships. Some of America’s adversaries are building them faster and arguably when dealing with less quality than ours but quantity has a quality of its own when dealing with gigantic distances in these larger oceans, “Ocean Aero CEO Kevin Decker said. “These autonomous vehicles are ways that we can be in more places at once with limited resources and being able to do that with the same deterrence that we have had in these capital ships.”

State and local officials like Governor Tate Reeves, U.S. senators Roger Wicker, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes also attended the event.

Visitors got a chance to see TRITONs out in the water. According to Decker, 46 vehicles have already been built, most of them in Mississippi. They are being delivered all over the world.

“This is an uncrude ocean-building vessel that can be lethal on the surface and then when it needs to it can disappear and then become a submarine and it stays out there for over a year without coming back to refuel. It is a game changer, it’s state of the art and we are doing it here in Mississippi,” Wicker said.

The company started with 17 employees and now has 65. Decker said the facility has the option to secure 500 employees full-time and can produce 600 TRITONs a year.