The U.S. Navy on Thursday launched its first squadron to feature manned and unmanned aircraft at the Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado, near San Diego.
(Fire Scout MQ-8B. Photo, courtesy of NAVAIR.)
The squadron has been dubbed the "Magicians" and will feature an undetermined number of Fire Scout MQ-8 B, Northrop Grumman's unmanned helicopter designed to provide situational awareness and precision targeting support. The "Magicians" is the navy's first composite squadron, and also features the MH-60R, Sikorsky's manned anti-submarine helicopter.
Northrop Grumman's role in the squadron has not yet been determined, though the company does expect continue its current program of support to the deployed detachments of MQ-8B aircraft.
The new squadron is scheduled to be fully operational on the Navy's new littoral combat ship by next year.
Related: Military Avionics