Apr 8, 2014
UK Team To Train on Triton as Government Ponders Maritime Patrol Future
The government said that four personnel are scheduled to train on the MQ-4C Triton during June and August, 2014.
The Triton is a maritime version of the Global Hawk remotely piloted surveillance vehicle. The high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft is in its flight-test phase ahead of deliveries to the US Navy.
The British government said the team will be trained at the US Navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Defence Secretary has said on a number of occasions that unmanned aircraft could meet at least part of the requirement for a future maritime patrol aircraft capability if the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) resurrects the requirements.
The government controversially axed Britain’s maritime patrol aircraft capability as part of a budget-cutting exercise in the 2010 SDSR when BAE Systems’ long-delayed and over-budget Nimrod MRA4 program was canceled before the aircraft entered service.
Two demonstration versions of the Triton are scheduled to be delivered to Patuxent River in the next few weeks.
Triton has already been ordered by the US Navy to operate alongside Boeing P-8 Poseidon MPAs. Australia has also said it intends to buy the machine to work with the P-8s it has on order.
Twenty british personnel have been embedded with US Navy P-8 operations as part of a program to retain crew skills until a decision is made on whether to recreate a maritime patrol capability.