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MQ-8B Fire Scout-The U.S. Navy’s First Weaponized UAV Helicopter

Written by on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

With many successful deployments under its belt with the U.S. Navy, the MQ-8B Fire Scout is becoming the world’s first UAV helicopter to become equipped with weapons. Integration of the MQ-8B Fire Scout is still in development at China Lake, California but the capability to guide weapons gives the little helicopter a tremendous punch.

The MQ-8A Fire Scout has been “underway” and deployed since 2009 with the U.S. Navy to assist with counter piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and also in surveillance operations for surface combatants in other parts of the world. The Fire Scout has over 600 hours of operations while deployed with U.S. Navy surface ships and has proven to be a useful tool in the arsenal of Navy assets. Given its past performance, the Navy is looking toward arming the MQ-8B Fire Scout to increase its capability and provide a counter to the fast boat cheap cialis canada pharmacy threat. “We’re doing another rapid deployment capability in response to an urgent needs request from 5th Fleet (in the Middle East),” said Captain Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout will be integrating the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) which uses 2.75 inch folding-fin Hydra-70 rockets that are guided via laser energy and have been integrated on other aircraft to include the AH-1W, UH-1Y and most recently the A-10. The APKWS has been a solid acquisition program and given the early results of testing with the MQ-8B Fire Scout, the integration is expected to be successful.

Given little chance of finding a niche mission, the MQ-8B Fire Scout has proven to be very useful for surface combat ships for over the horizon Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations and now that the little Fire Scout is armed, the mission areas have increased significantly.

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