Unmanned aircraft closes biofuel chapter
The Navy reached a milestone in its quest to gain energy independence today, when an MQ-8B Fire Scout successfully flew the first unmanned biofueled flight at Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Md.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Directorate piloted the helicopter fueled with a combination of JP-5 aviation fuel and plant-based camelina. The biofuel blend reduces carbon dioxide output by 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.
"Today's flight marks a significant milestone with Fire Scout being the Navy's first unmanned aircraft to use biofuel technology,” said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “I am very pleased we can add MQ-8B to the list of successful bioflights completed at Pax River this year, bringing us one step closer to achieving the Navy's energy goals."
The MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle provides critical situational awareness, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and targeting data to the forward deployed warfighter. Fire Scout is designed to operate from all air capable ships and is currently providing ISR support during its first-land based deployment in U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Fire Scout is the seventh and final aircraft to demonstrate the versatility of biofuel through its use in all facets of naval aviation. The completion of aircraft biofuel testing at Pax River is another example of the Navy’s determination in achieving its goal of launching the “Great Green Fleet.”
Source: NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
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