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The US Navy will be able to ensure nearly constant maritime surveillance with multiple drones cycling around a California base and monitoring the seas. The US Naval Base Mugu received its first MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle recently. According to vcstar.com, the system is comparable in size to a Boeing 757.
The Triton is designed to provide a continuous source of information in a maritime battle environment, the Navy said. The sensors on the drone can identify and monitor ships from 16.5 kilometers in the air while sending data to naval officers in near real-time, according to authorities. It can remain in the air for up to 24 hours, depending on the altitude. The drone is part of an unmanned patrol operation known as “Big Red,” authorities said.
The Naval Base expects to receive at least one more MQ-4C Triton in the coming months, according to Theresa Miller, a spokeswoman for the base. The drones will be maintained by workers at the base until the craft are deployed to Guam in 2018. The base currently houses two drone helicopters known as MQ-8B and MQ-8C Fire Scouts, although this is the first MQ-4C Triton to be housed at the base. All of the drones are produced by aerospace defense company Northrop Grumman.
In April, the 28th learning site under the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training umbrella was established at Mugu. The new state-of-the-art school is the only one specifically designed for maintenance training for the MQ-4C Triton.
The facility will provide training on air-frame, automatic logistics environment, avionics, electrical systems, fiber optics and wire connector repair, ground maintenance vehicle operator, propulsion and system networks. Classes range in length from three to five months. About 200 to 250 students per year from the Navy are expected.