Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX 1) has concluded initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the US Navy’s (USN’s) MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air system (UAS) from the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Coronado (LCS 4).
Based on a modified commercial Bell 407 helicopter, the Northrop Grumman-developed MQ-8C is designed to provide the USN with a range increase of more than 30%, twice the endurance, and three times the payload of the earlier MQ-8B variant. However, the unmanned systems architecture developed and matured for the MQ-8B is being re-used for the MQ-8C.
IOT&E outputs are intended to inform the navy as to how best to integrate the MQ-8C UAS with the LCS and other surface platforms.
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