|MQ-8C unmanned helicopter. Photo: Northrop Grumman
[Avionics Today 08-25-2015] Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated endurance capabilities with the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. On a planned long-range, long endurance flight out to 150 nautical miles (nm), the MQ-8C Fire Scout achieved 11 hours with more than an hour of fuel in reserve.
The flight was part of a series of capability-based tests used by the Navy to validate their concept of operations and previously tested performance parameters. The Navy conducted the demonstration with support of Northrop Grumman engineers.
"Endurance flights provide a full evaluation of the MQ-8C Fire Scout systems," said Capt. Jeff Dodge, program manager of Fire Scout at the Naval Air Systems Command. "We can better understand the capability of the system and look at crew tasks and interactions in a controlled environment. This will allow us to adjust operational procedures to maximize the system's effectiveness."
The MQ-8C Fire Scout completed its developmental flight test program earlier this year and has operational assessment planned for later in 2015.