Accomack County Approves Plan For Navy Drone Base - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Accomack County Approves Plan For Navy Drone Base

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Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton (U.S. Navy) Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton (U.S. Navy)

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.- The Accomack County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan in support of the Navy making Wallops Island Flight Facility its East Coast home base for the Triton Drone program. 

In a statement to WBOC, the Navy Fleet Forces Command said it is preparing an environmental assessment for the establishment of facilities and functions to support the East Coast home basing and maintenance of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System at one of three locations: Naval Air Station Key West in Florida; Naval Station Mayport in Florida, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wallops Flight Facility in Chincoteague, Va. 

Peter Bale, chairman of the Wallops Island Regional Alliance, said the Triton program is a great opportunity for Chincoteague.

"The economic impact would be tremendous for the area. They indicated up to 400 jobs would be created by this opportunity and if you do the math on that we look at everyone coming here has a family of three or four people, so you can see the initial impact of what this operation could bring," Bale said.

The Triton Drone is not your average-size drone. The aircraft is 48-feet long and has a wingspan of 131-feet. Many neighbors like Jeffrey Stevens and his family are concerned about the noise it may bring to the area. 

"They run them planes all times of night and day, it does get pretty loud, I'll be honest with you," Stevens said.

Bale said the noise impact neighbors will here from the Tritons will be very minimal. Bale said the engines are gas turbine and very quiet.

The Navy Fleet Forces Command said the Triton Drone will be used to provide maritime intelligence and data collection to the fleet. Stevens says this is alarming.

"I don't really like the idea of planes possibly spying over everybody. That's what I've been hearing is that they're going to have cameras that do a lot of spying," Stevens said. 

According to the U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command, the base will be a flight landing and take off base and the Triton's surveillance missions will be conducted over water and mostly over international waters 12 miles or more offshore. 

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