Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Unmanned Vehicles

Northrop Grumman Fire Scout

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Ayoshi:
northropgrumman.com

--- Quote ---There are two Fire Scout variants. The smaller MQ-8B has deployed on multiple frigates and is currently deployed on a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). MQ-8B has also deployed to Afghanistan to support counter- improvised explosive device (IED) operations. This system has completed more than 15,650 flight hours and over 5,800 sorties. The Navy has integrated a multi-mode maritime radar on MQ-8B and tested an onboard weapons capability, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS). The MQ-8B Fire Scout has also demonstrated the ability to operate concurrently with other manned aircraft while operating at-sea.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout is the Navy’s next generation unmanned helicopter. The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s airframe is based on the commercial Bell 407, a mature helicopter with more than 1,400 airframes produced and over 4 million flight hours. Combined with the maturity of Northrop Grumman's unmanned systems architecture, Fire Scout meets customer requirements for a ship-based and land-based unmanned systems. It also has the ability to autonomously take-off and land on any aviation-capable ship and from prepared and unprepared landing zones. This enhancement significantly increases range and endurance (more than double) and payload capacity (more than triple). The MQ-8C has completed developmental testing and is ready to deploy.
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MQ-8B Fire Scout

Photo: aircraft-info.net

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MQ-8C Fire Scout

Photo: defenseindustrydaily.com

Ayoshi:
Northrop Grumman to build 10 additional MQ-8C Fire Scouts for U.S. Navy | verticalmag - September 30, 2016

--- Quote ---The additional build will bring the total number of MQ-8C Fire Scout air vehicles procured to 29, extending the range and endurance of naval operations.
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The additional build will bring the total number of MQ-8C Fire Scout air vehicles procured to 29, extending the range and endurance of naval operations. Northrop Grumman Corporation Photo

Ayoshi:
Bell to assess potential MQ-8C fatigue as NAVAIR expands airframe performance envelope | IHS Jane's 360 - 07 October 2016

--- Quote ---The US Navy (USN) has awarded Bell Helicopter a USD3.3 million contract to investigate the potential for future flight strain, fatigue, and tail boom cracking on the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The contract, which was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 29 September and posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website on 5 October, will see Bell Helicopter use a company-owned 407 helicopter to investigate strain, fatigue, and cracking issues that might arise with the command flying the MQ-8C at higher weights and altitudes than those for which the civilian authorities have certified the original airframe.

According to NAVAIR, the 407 helicopter on which the MQ-8C is based is "the only known system configuration that meets the minimum requirements of the MQ-8C Fire Scout production". It added that the sourcing, development, and fielding of an alternative platform would cost USD202 million and would take 28 months to achieve
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Ayoshi:
Northrop Grumman Helps U.S. Navy Fire Scout Squadron Make History | Navy Recognition - 16 August 2017

--- Quote ---Northrop Grumman Fire Scout instructors helped an elite detachment of Fire Scout Air Vehicle Operators (AVO) from the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 train and rehearse for a historic two-part demonstration. The AVOs trained for a real-time mission-set that handed off two autonomous, radar-equipped MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopters between multiple ground stations, a program first. The exercise also provided critical, real-time targeting information to a manned MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during a weeklong exercise off the coast of southern California.

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In May 2017, the Fire Scout simulators helped the Navy plan out an entire mission ahead of the actual flights. The Fire Scout simulators at Northrop Grumman are generally used for proficiency training for pilots and payload operators, but the simulators also have the ability to rehearse and validate mission plans, increasing squadron readiness levels.

The demonstration called for the first-ever long-range transit of the Fire Scout. The autonomous helicopter was launched by AVOs using a mobile mission control station (MMCS) in Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island. The San-Clemente-based operators then successfully exchanged controls of the Fire Scout in-flight to AVOs operating from a ground control station at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California. This hand-off exchange was then repeated during the return trip to San Clemente Island.
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MH-60S Helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout VTOL UAV. Picture: Northrop Grumman

Ayoshi:
Navy Recognition


Philippine Sea (Aug. 22, 2017) A Firescout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) off the coast of Guam. Coronado is on a rotational deployment in U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, patrolling the region's littorals and working hull-to-hull with partner navies to provide U.S. 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released) (Photo by MC2 Kaleb R. Staples)

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