The US Navy’s Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout Vertical Take-off and Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, based on the Bell 407 helicopter, is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) in 2020. The IOC forecast follows initial operational test and evaluation by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) ‘Pioneers’ based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The MQ-8C is expected to make its first deployment to the US Navy Fifth Fleet operating in the Gulf region. The MQ-8C is equipped with the Leonardo ZPY-8A Osprey 30 active electronically scanned array search radar with a two-face configuration enabling 240o coverage and weather detection, air-to-air targeting and moving target indicator capabilities.
It will provide cueing for the MQ- 8C’s AAQ-22D Bright Star II multisensor imaging, rangefinder and laser designator system. David C Isby