Northrop Grumman and its industry partners completed a 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 company announced Wednesday.
The test flights were conducted in early July over a 10-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), Northrop Grumman said.
Northrop Grumman's industry partners include Sikorsky/Schweizer, Rolls-Royce, Raytheon, FLIR Systems, Cubic, Kearfott, Rockwell-Collins, General Electric, Sierra Nevada, Telephonics, and L-3 Communications
The Fire Scout demonstrations included numerous takeoffs and landings in hot, windy and sandy conditions in temperatures as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. The VUAS also conducted various test flights at altitudes up to 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 sensing capabilities used to locate and acquire targets.