The US Navy Have Declared Initial Operational Capability of Unmanned Helicopter

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The US Navy have declared initial operational capability of the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, clearing the way for fleet operations and training, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, quoting UKDJ.

The MQ-8 Fire Scout is a sea-based, vertical lift unmanned system that is designed to provide reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces.

“This milestone is a culmination of several years of hard work and dedication from our joint government and industry team,” said Capt. Eric Soderberg, Fire Scout program manager.

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“We are excited to get this enhanced capability out to the fleet.”

The US Navy say that the MQ-8C variant is an endurance and payload upgrade to its predecessor, the MQ-8B, offering up to twelve hours on station depending on payload, and incorporates the commercial Bell 407 airframe.

“The Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout complements the manned MH-60 helicopter by extending the range and endurance of ship-based operations. It provides unique situational awareness and precision target support for the US Navy.

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The MQ-8C has flown over 1,500 hours with more than 700 sorties to date. Over the next few years, Northrop Grumman will continue MQ-8C production deliveries to the Navy to complete a total of 38 aircraft.”

The MQ-8C will be equipped with an upgraded radar that allows for a larger field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI).

It will deploy with a LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) in 2021 while the MQ-8B conducts operations aboard LCS in 5th and 7th Fleets.

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BulgarianMilitary.com
Editorial team

Source: UKDJ

Air systemshelicoptersUS Defense NewsUS Navy