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Fire Scout has a role to play in Indo-Pacific

24th May 2022 - 14:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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An MQ-8C Fire Scout prepares to land aboard USS Jackson on 19 April. (Photo: USN)

The MQ-8C Fire Scout rotary-wing UAV has been deployed to the Indo-Pacific region for the first time.

The USN has deployed the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout rotary-wing UAV to the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility for the first time.

An MQ-8C operated from the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson in April to provide an enhanced ISR and targeting capability, Northrop Grumman noted in a 23 May statement.

Capt Dennis Monagle, tactical UAS programme manager at Naval Air Systems Command, described the MQ-8C as an ‘extremely flexible unmanned aerial system and a pillar in the navy and marine corps unmanned campaign plan’.

The USN aims to decommission nine Freedom-variant LCSs in FY2023, but Monagle said that Fire Scout ‘will still be active on remaining littoral combat ships’.

The rotary-wing UAS is also ‘being built into the Constellation-class frigate design… as well as other ship classes’, he added.

As well as ISR and targeting, other potential future roles for the MQ-8C include mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout also ‘advanced capabilities’ such as manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) demonstrations, Northrop Grumman added.

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