Osprey radar for MQ-8C Fire Scout
The US Navy has selected Finmeccanica's Osprey AESA radar for its newly-upgraded Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, the company announced on 17 October.
Under the new contract, an initial batch of five radars will be delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for evaluation and testing. Once the testing is complete, NAVAIR will have the option to purchase more radar systems.
The company has already built several Osprey radars, so the primary task within the contract will be to integrate the system with the MQ-8C Fire Scout.
The AESA radar is designed to enable operators to spot threats that are beyond the range of standard ship-based sensors. An Osprey-equipped MQ-8C Fire Scout will use high-frequency radio waves to detect targets at long ranges in severe weather, night and other low-visibility conditions. Osprey's flat-panel technology enables it to be installed within the mould line of the helicopter rather than in an underslung belly-pod.
The two-panel radar will provide an instantaneous 240-degree field of view along with various digital modes such as air-to-air targeting, weather detection and a ground moving target indicator. It has an open architecture for the navy to insert future technologies, and an 'E-Scan' design with minimal moving parts for simplified maintenance.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is expected to be integrated with the navy's littoral combat ships. The helicopter will be launched from the decks of the combat vessels to identify distant threats.
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