SAN DIEGO – Aug. 17, 2022 – U.S. Navy’s autonomous, runway-independent helicopter system Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout successfully completed the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concept, providing persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capabilities.
“Fire Scout is the Navy’s only unmanned helicopter with the ability to deploy from a ship or land with ISR&T at the extended range required for future warfighting,” said Capt. Dennis Monagle, U.S. Navy. “The system is vital in expeditionary use for situational awareness and critical decision-making.”
MQ-8C Fire Scout was launched from the Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle Maintenance Detachment at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, simulating a ship-based departure. The Navy conducted a control system hand-off of the MQ-8C Fire Scout from Point Mugu to San Clemente Island, California, demonstrating the ship-to-shore transition capability of the platform in a maritime expeditionary environment.
With the Navy’s Portable Mission Control Station (MCS-P), the system was recovered and redeployed rapidly for operational flexibility. The portable MCS-P ground control station helps MQ-8C Fire Scout basing in austere locations on land, helipad operations in an advanced forward location, and logistics support from ship flight decks. With identical ship-based hardware, screen configuration and software, operations remain consistent across all ship classes.
“We are supporting MQ-8C deployments on littoral combat ships while assisting the Navy with Fire Scout mission expansion efforts to include operations from other surface ships and shore-based sites,” said Lance Eischeid, director, Fire Scout program, Northrop Grumman. “This EABO demonstration further proves the flexible utility of MQ-8C Fire Scout for expeditionary use from land and across multiple ship classes.”
Fire Scout continues Northrop Grumman’s 70-year heritage of designing, building, delivering and sustaining the world’s most capable unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
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