Fire Scout UAV deploys on US Navy frigate
The US Naval Air Systems Command has announced that the Klakring (FFG 42) guided missile frigate deployed 29 June 2012 with four Fire Scout UAVs onboard as part of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42.
The vessel has deployed in support of operations off the Horn of Africa. The UAV fleet will help the US Navy meet its goal of flying up to 12 hours a day to significantly increase real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support to combatant commanders.
Last year, HSL-42 deployed with two Fire Scouts and an H-60 helicopter aboard USS Halyburton (FFG 40). According to the navy, during the deployment, the detachment recorded more than 1,000 flight hours. Fire Scout flew 438 of those hours and set records for altitude range and endurance.
Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout programme manager at Pax River, commented: ‘With each deployment, we are getting better and better at providing a maritime ISR capability, taking lessons learned each time and making improvements for future operations.
‘This is our third deployment with HSL-42, who have become very familiar with the system. Now they have the mission of flying two Fire Scouts simultaneously during operations, allowing the ship's commander to keep a constant watch on a target of interest.’
The navy worked with Northrop Grumman to demonstrate the capability for the first time in late 2011. A single-control station can control two air vehicles, and the crew can replace aircraft low on fuel during a mission without losing site of the target.
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