The Navy has ordered an operational stand down of its first MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19 following a recent crash landing at the Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Calif.
During a test flight on Wednesday, one of two Tritons posted to the base experienced an inflight mechanical issue. Pilots shut down the engine then attempted to land the unmanned aircraft on a base runway, but the landing gear did not deploy. The aircraft landed, but the landing gear was still retracted (Defense Daily, Sept. 13).
Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for the Naval Air Force Atlantic, told Defense Daily today that the flight suspension is a result of the mishap while the Navy investigates. Although unsure of how long the suspension will last, he said the investigation could take a few months.
Hecht added the damage to the Triton is expected to exceed $2 million, making it a Class A aviation mishap.
The Navy started Triton flight operations at NBVC in June where maintainers are conducting training and tests on the first MQ-4Cs before they are planned to be deployed to Guam later this year (Defense Daily, June 1).
The Triton is built by Northrop Grumman [NOC].