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Fire Scout UAV Radar Package Checks Out Okay

Northrop Grumman Corporation's Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical UAV is shown with a Marine Corps S-788 ground control station (mounted on a "Humvee") designed, built and integrated by the Fire Scout team. Northrop Grumman recently completed U.S. Navy acceptance testing of the GCS, which is designed to provide command and control of Fire Scout in support of Navy littoral operations from all air-capable ships.
San Diego - Aug 12, 2003
Northrop Grumman has demonstrated, through a series of test flights, that a synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator (SAR/MTI) system can be integrated and operated successfully on the company's RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system.

The company-funded flight tests verified SAR/MTI operation in combination with Fire Scout's existing payload of electro-optical and infrared sensors and a laser designator/rangefinder. The tests also ensured that the SAR/MTI payload is compatible with the increased vibration of a rotary wing UAV compared to a fixed wing UAV.

"Our flight test program demonstrated the flexibility of the Fire Scout system to carry multiple payloads simultaneously and receive sensor data from those payloads at its ground control station," said Tom Soard, Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout program manager.

"The SAR payload significantly enhances the Fire Scout system's ability to perform tactical long-range, wide-area search, surveillance and target location in a variety of weather conditions, day and night."

Between June 23 and July 16, Northrop Grumman conducted nine demonstration flights totaling more than 10 hours at the Webster Field annex of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Initial testing yielded very good SAR imagery and ground moving target indicator performance, with both 1-foot and 4-inch SAR resolution, against a variety of targets and no degradation in the rotary wing environment.

General Atomics, San Diego, provided the SAR/MTI system for the test flights. The next phase of the flight demonstration will evaluate the tactical UAV synthetic aperture radar (TUAVR) provided by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, Baltimore. The upgraded TUAVR is a sub 1-foot resolution SAR/ground moving target indicator radar.

The Fire Scout system is in development and low-rate initial production by Northrop Grumman and could be a force multiplier for U.S. Navy forces at sea and U.S. Marine Corps forces ashore.

The air vehicle can operate up to 20,000 feet above deployed Marines and provide the capability to watch for threats within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station. The system can direct Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or the laser designator.

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Fire Scout UAV Gets "Sea Legs" Ahead Of First Shipboard Landing
San Diego - Aug 11, 2003
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have completed the initial phase of at-sea testing that will lead to the first shipboard landing of the Navy's RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system later this year. The tests will demonstrate that Fire Scout can safely conduct autonomous operations at sea.

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