A Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout unmanned helicopter transmitted sensor data to a cockpit display of a Navy MH-60 helicopter during an exercise earlier this year, the company said Tuesday.
Northrop Grumman said the demonstration, which took place Oct. 25 near Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., paves the way for improving the speed at which field commanders can make informed decisions during military operations.
"Fire Scout complements the Navy's manned helicopters by effectively extending the range and area of ship-based intelligence gathering operations," said George Vardoulakis, vice president for tactical unmanned systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.
Until now, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data gathered by Fire Scout has been sent to its host ship for further dissemination. During the demonstration, crew members aboard a nearby U.S. Coast Guard boat also viewed Fire Scout's sensor data in real time using a remote terminal.
Fire Scout features a modular architecture that accommodates a variety of electro-optical, infrared and communications payloads. These payloads provide ground- and ship-based commanders with high levels of situational awareness and precision targeting support.