Northrop Grumman is demonstrating the Fire Scout’ suitability for the U.S. Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare mission
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is the U.S. Navy’s only ship-based autonomous helicopter program. MQ-8C Fire Scout, which has integrated the AN/ZPY-8 radar, is expected to reach Initial Operating Capability in this new configuration this summer and begin replacing MQ-8B aircraft on upcoming deployments.
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.
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 Navy.
The MQ-8C upgraded radar 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). MQ-8C achieved initial operational capability (IOC) in June 2019. It will deploy with LCS in fiscal year 2021 while the MQ-8B conducts operations aboard LCS in 5th and 7th Fleets.