By KAREN NELSON
MOSS POINT — Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point will begin production on a third type of aircraft next week.
The plant currently handles major assembly on Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk and Fire Scout.
But on Tuesday, the specially skilled workforce will begin three Tritons, also an unmanned aircraft.
“Triton will be provided to the Navy to monitor vast areas of open ocean and be able to fly missions up to 24 hours at altitudes over 11 miles high,” said Warren Comer, spokesman for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “The Navy plans to build 68 aircraft, with these three being the start of those production efforts.”
Tuesday’s celebration is to kick off the full production.
There will be no need to retool for this aircraft because Northrop has already built two for Navy test flights. They were delivered to the Navy and are being prepared for test flights now, Comer said.
As with the Global Hawk and Fire Scout, Moss Point will build only a portion of the aircraft.
Moss Point builds the fuselage and sends it to California for the wings and engine, Comer said.
Workforce at the plant now exceeds 70, he said.
The Global Hawk is an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force and Navy. The Fire Scout is an unmanned surveillance helicopter for the Navy.