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
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
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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