The US Navy, in accordance with the requirements of their new Triton Unmanned Aircraft System, is developing training aircraft to be based at Naval Base Ventura County, California, which will be the home of the Triton maintenance training program.
Components of a retired Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAV were shipped to the Manned Flight Simulator facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The Global Hawk will be converted into the first of six maintenance trainer aircraft, which will feature power, landing gear and flight control capabilities. Projected to be completed in late 2016, the conversion will mean a significant cost saving for the Navy.
The US Navy plans in the long term to deploy a substantial fleet of Triton UAVs, which will replace the aging P-3C Orion manned aircraft currently used for maritime surveillance. Based on the airframe of the Global Hawk, which is currently used by the United States Air Force, the Triton will be a significant asset to commanders’ coastal and ocean surface threat detection capability. It will also allow the Navy to move crucial manned resources away from surveillance and reconnaissance.