MQ-8B laser designates for Seahawk
The US Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 has successfully used an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter as a laser designator platform for an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter to fire an AGM-114N Hellfire missile, the navy announced on 27 September.
The MH-60S flew from Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, while the MQ-8B was operated from NAS Point Mugu. The missile firing took place on a designated live-fire range off the coast of NAS Point Mugu against a target moving at a speed of around 10-15 knots.
The MQ-8B detected the target location and transmitted it to the MH-60S for targeting. Once the target requirements were met, the MQ-8B lased the target and the MH-60S flew into position for the running missile shot.
The successful firing marks a major milestone in work to integrate the navy's manned and unmanned assets.
Lt Cdr Thanh Nguyen said: ‘We were able to validate the Fire Scout's ability to find and designate a target, which greatly expands the lethal range of the MH-60S while keeping air crews out of harm's way.’
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