RQ-8A Fire Scout
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: MQ-8
Origin: United States of America
Northrop Grumman* and Schweizer Aircraft (*) lead contractor
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Description: The Fire Scout VTUAV is a vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle designed to provide unprecedented situation awareness and precision targeting for the US Navy and the USMC.
The Fire Scout UAV has the ability to takeoff and land on any helicopter capable ship such as frigates and aircraft carriers as well as any place in the battlefield area supporting the USMC forces.
The RQ-8A Fire Scout also includes a HMMWV-mounted ground control station for use by the USMC and the the Tactical Control Station (TCS) developed for US Navy ships. It provides coverage 110nm from launch site providing ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and targeting through its Electro-Optical and IR sensors and a laser designator.
The Fire Scout will also act as a communications node within the network centric warfare battle space supporting other platforms. It is powered by a single Rolls Royce 250-C20W engine and features a 3-blade main rotor that could be replaced by a 4-blade rotor extending Fire Scout range, payload and flight endurance.
The Fire Scout will replace the Pioneer UAV. In the future, the valuable Fire Scout will provide accurate targeting to warships equipped with Extended Range Guided Projectiles (ERGM) and land attack missiles. For this reason the US Army and the US Navy are testing the Fire Scout under the MQ-8 designation.
In 2005 the RQ-8 program was restructured with the RQ-8A aircraft deemed as the test version of more capable MQ-8B which was scheduled to be the first full operational model deployed with the Armed Forces of the United States.
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