Navy, Northrop Complete Fire Scout Operational Tests

FireScoutNorthrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy concluded a series of operational assessments on a company-built MQ-8C Fire Scout autonomous helicopter last month.

The company said Tuesday its MQ-8C recorded 83.4 flight hours and collected about 72 data points in real time during OA flight test performed by the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX-1) over a three-week period.

Navy and Northrop personnel have also evaluated the performance of the helicopter’s sensors, ice detection technology and other ISR systems at multiple altitudes and ranges.

“MQ-8C is meeting or exceeding its performance objectives and will deliver greater warfighting capabilities to the fleet in the future,” Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager at the Naval Air Systems Command, said in a statement released Monday.

Northrop designed the unmanned helicopter to soar up to 150 nautical miles, lift a more than 700-pound payload and help military users identify targets at sea and on land.

The platform is slated to undergo a milestone C evaluation in 2016 and ship-based tests by fiscal 2017.

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