Sen. Bill Nelson To Navy: 'Bring New Drone Program To Florida'

Apr 22, 2016

Credit Shannon Greene / WJCT News

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is urging the Navy to make Florida home for a new squadron of unmanned drones.

Jacksonville is one of three sites currently in the running.

Two of the three sites being considered for the new squadron of unmanned aerial surveillance drones are in Florida — Naval Air Station Key West and Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville. NASA Flight Facility in Virginia is also being considered.

Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus saying the Sunshine State is best positioned for the program.

"Florida's proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as the current drone operations being performed here are just two of the many reasons why Florida would be the ideal location for the Navy to base its new Triton drone squadron and I made that clear in the letter I sent over to Secretary Mabus today," Nelson said in an emailed statement. 

The new drones called MQ-4C Tritons and they can survey 2.7 million square miles in a single mission, providing the Navy with real-time intelligence.

The base that’s ultimately chosen will receive eight drones and 400 additional sailors connected to the drone program.