A retired U.S. Air Force Global Hawk was loaded onto a truck destined for the Manned Flight Simulator (MFS) facility at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., to support MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System training. Three trucks departed Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with components of the unmanned aircraft en route to its temporary location at Pax River on March 1.
The Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-262) will partner with the Naval Aviation Training Systems Program OFfice (PMA-205) to convert the aircraft to an MQ-4C Triton maintenance trainer capable of providing hands-on power plants, landing gear and flight control services.
Using the former Air Force aircraft is projected to yield significant cost avoidance for the Navy. Completion of the first of six MQ-4C trainers is projected for late 2016 with final destination being Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., the future home of the Triton maintenance training schoolhouse.
The Triton, based on the Air Force’s Global Hawk airframe, will play a key role in providing commanders with a persistent, reliable picture of surface threats, covering vast areas of open ocean and littoral regions, minimizing the need to utilize other manned assets to execute surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.