Fire Scout UAV Joins Future Combat Systems

Released on Tuesday, January 27, 2004
GBU-44/B Viper Strike
MQ-8B Fire Scout
RQ-8A Fire Scout
FCS - Future Combat Systems
ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
SDD - System Development and Demonstration
UAS - Unmanned Aerial System
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The Northrop-Grumman announced that the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been selected as the Class IV Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for the US Army's Future Combat System (FCS).

Northrop-Grumman was awarded a $115 million contract by Boeing and SAIC acting as FCS lead systems integrators for Class IV UAS system development and demonstration (SDD).

During this phase Northrop-Grumman will develop Class IV UAS architecture, produce 7 RQ-8B Fire Scout UAVs, perform system tests and evaluation, and help to elaborate long term system requirements.

FCS Fire Scout UAS will provide real-time imagery and data collection and dissemination at the brigade level, while performing Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), and targeting tasks.

The RQ-8B Fire Scout will be similar to the -8A model currently in production for the US Navy, excepting the new four-blade rotor system versus -8A three-blade rotor system. In addition, the -8B vehicle will feature improve airfoil blades, and more than 8 hours of flight endurance carrying a payload weight of 130 pounds (59 kg).

According to Northrop-Grumman tests data, the four-blade rotor system will enable Fire Scout to carry a maximum payload weight of 600 pounds (272 kg). Double its on-station time at 110nm (+200km) with a 200-lb (91 kg) payload, as well as increase the payload volume and enhance system supportability.

The FCS Fire Scout system will be fitted with different electronic packages, sensors and ground control stations than currently related to the US Navy's Fire Scouts.

Finally, the FCS Fire Scout UAS will benefit from Northrop-Grumman Fire Scout weapons integration program. The weapons package being integrated on the Fire Scout includes 70mm APKWS laser-guided rockets (2 launchers with 4-packs), and Viper Strike laser guided munition.

The FCS Fire Scout is intended to perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, targeting and precision strike missions operating at 150 nm (280 km) from its ground control station.


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