[Avionics Today May 6, 2014] Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout will begin electromagnetic interference tests in preparation for shipboard flight testing.
The test will evaluate the unmanned helicopter's ability to operate safely aboard U.S. Navy ships, which feature intense electromagnetic environments. Specially designed cages known as Faraday cages are built into the aircraft to protect onboard equipment from signal interference.
"All Navy aircraft must go through electromagnetic interference testing to ensure they can operate safely in the ship environment," said Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager at Naval Air Systems Command. "We're confident that the design of the Faraday cages and other engineering work done on the MQ-8C Fire Scout will pass these tests."
MQ-8C has undergone 102 flights wince its first flight in October 2013. According to Northrop Grumman, MQ-8C is based on a larger helicopter airframe and can fly almost twice as long, while carrying three times more intelligence-gathering sensor payloads than its MQ-8B variant.