The Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) system is designed to operate from air-capable ships with initial deployment on a Guided Missile Frigate (FFG), followed by final integration and test on board the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The Fire Scout VTUAV system is comprised of up to three MQ-8B Fire Scout air vehicles, ground control stations, and associated control handling and support equipment. The VTUAV system will provide a significant improvement to organic surveillance capability. With vehicle endurance greater than eight hours, a VTUAV system will be capable of twelve continuous hours of operations providing coverage 110 nautical miles from the launch site. The air vehicle is capable of providing UHF/VHF voice communications relay and has a baseline payload that includes electro-optical/infrared sensors and a laser designator that enables the system to find tactical targets, track and designate targets, accurately provide targeting data to strike platforms and perform battle damage assessment.
The MQ-8B completed first flight in December 2006 and first deployment in 2009. As an operational asset afloat and ashore, the Fire Scout provides critical situational awareness, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting data to forward deployed war fighters.
Overall Length: 31.7 feet
Height: 9.8 feet
Weight: zero fuel weight - 2,073 pounds; maximum takeoff, 3,150 pounds
Speed: 110 knots
Ceiling: 20,000 feet
Range: 110 nautical miles radius, five-plus hours on station
Power Plant: one Rolls-Royce 250C20W heavy fuel turboshaft engine
Payload: 600 pounds, including electro-optical/infrared sensor and laser designator
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems
ACAT: ACAT 1C Program
Production Phase: Production
Projected Inventory: 168