ABU DHABI, UAE, July 14, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the support of the United States Navy, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and its industry partners (Sikorsky/Schweizer, Rolls-Royce, Raytheon, FLIR Systems, Cubic, Kearfott, Rockwell-Collins, General Electric, Sierra Nevada, Telephonics, and L-3 Communications) today successfully completed a rigorous set of flight demonstrations of the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical unmanned aerial system (VUAS) in the United Arab Emirates under extreme environmental conditions.
The test flights were conducted in early July over a ten day period in the United Arab Emirates. They validated Fire Scout's steady system maturation and helped signal its readiness for the U.S. Navy's upcoming Operational Evaluation of the system, planned for late 2010 aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG-40).
"We welcome Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy to the UAE for continued testing of the Fire Scout," said Ali Al Yafei of ADASI (Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment). "As a VUAS, Fire Scout has many unique capabilities to offer and we're looking forward to reviewing the results of this in-country testing."
The Fire Scout demonstrations included numerous takeoffs and landings in hot, windy and sandy conditions in temperatures as high as 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit). The VUAS also conducted various test flights at altitudes up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) . These demonstration missions included non-line-of-sight operations that showcased Fire Scout's ability to operate autonomously in remote locations, and its FLIR Systems electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensing capabilities used to locate and acquire targets.
Video imagery from the testing was presented today at a post-testing event to an audience of interested multi-national government agencies, and domestic and international media. The imagery, a compilation of video produced by Fire Scout's sensors during field trials, demonstrated the VUAS's real-time imagery-transmission capability, a vital element of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions it performs for military forces.
"Today's demonstration was very impressive and reinforces the continued maturation of the Fire Scout system and its capabilities," said John Brooks, president of Northrop Grumman International Inc. "Northrop Grumman thanks the UAE for being such a gracious host and offering us the opportunity to test Fire Scout in the extreme heat of summer. The UAE represents an important partnership for Northrop Grumman and our customers internationally demand the best. We are committed to continuing to meet and exceed their expectations."
The only U.S. Department of Defense VUAS program of record, Fire Scout is a mature, flexible and reliable system whose capabilities can serve as a true force multiplier.
"The capabilities that Fire Scout delivers to warfighters really stood out today," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager for the Strike and Surveillance Systems Division of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "It's clear from this demonstration that Fire Scout can do exactly what it's designed to do: extend the range at which we can gather crucial information during peacekeeping or wartime missions."
Source: Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned System Successfully Completes Testing Under Extreme Environmental Conditions
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