Ship-Based MQ-8C Unmanned Helicopter Deployed For The First Time
Northrop Grumman Corporation has officially announced the first deployment of the ship-based MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter.
The ship-based MQ-8C Fire Scout is designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, detection and identification of targets at sea. To carry out these missions, the MQ-8C Fire Scout is equipped with an improved active electronically scanned array radar, allowing it to detect targets at long range and in all weather conditions. In addition, it is equipped with a powerful electronic-optical and infrared combination.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is an unmanned helicopter developed by Northrop Grumman for the United States Navy. The airframe was based on the Bell 407, while the avionics and other systems were developed from those used on the MQ-8B Fire Scout. It made its maiden flight in October 2013 and achieved initial operational capability on June 28, 2019.
The MQ-8C is equipped with the Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 radar, which allows it to detect and automatically track contacts at extremely long ranges, at night, and even in stormy weather conditions when visibility is extremely poor, allowing more focused and efficient use of the unmanned aircraft.
The transition from the MQ-8B to the larger MQ-8C Fire Scout makes it possible to equip with more advanced sensors and increase cruise endurance. The successful deployment of the MQ-8C will help the US Navy update its unmanned maritime platforms and the Navy and Marine Corps unmanned campaign plan.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout has been tested with a variety of missions, including anti-mine and anti-submarine operations. With a larger platform, the MQ-8C is expected to expand the mission of unmanned aerial vehicles at sea in the future.