The U.S. Navy's RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system has moved closer to demonstrating its role as a force multiplier for the Navy and Marine Corps forces ashore.
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Fire Scout prototype, a technology demonstrator for the RQ-8A program, recently moved from the company's engineering facility here to the Naval Air Warfare Center test range at China Lake, Calif., for final first flight preparations. First flight of the prototype is planned for later this spring.
The Fire Scout system, a vertical takeoff and landing tactical UAV, is in low-rate initial production for the U.S. Navy by the Integrated Systems sector. Fire Scout will fly at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet, and use an advanced payload with an electro-optical/infrared sensor and a laser designator to survey littoral regions with pinpoint accuracy, giving military decision-makers the most current information about enemy resources and personnel on the ground.
Fire Scout is a fully autonomous targeting and surveillance system that can fly almost silently above deployed Marines to watch for hidden enemies within 100 nautical miles. The system then directs Navy and Marine weapons with the laser designator accurately to the target.
The first Fire Scout system was designed to respond to the Marine Corps requirements and will include three unmanned air vehicles, two ground control stations, a data link suite and modular mission payloads.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise.
Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.
It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.
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