US Navy extends Fire Scout service
The US Navy has extended the Fire Scout UAV’s service through most of 2012 according to a Northrop Grumman company statement issued 9 November 2011. Fire Scout has been in service with the US Navy in May, and since then has been gathering around 300 hours per month of full-motion video surveillance, and delivering it in real time to ground forces.
According to the company, over the past six months Fire Scout has improved ground commanders' ability to see potential threats and increase fighting effectiveness in Afghanistan to the extent that is has ‘established itself as the go-to asset for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for northern Afghanistan’.
The new $18.65 million contract will see Northrop Grumman operate and maintain the Fire Scout systems through October 2012. The contract was issued to the company Sept. 28 by Naval Air Systems Command.
Fire Scout features a modular architecture that accommodates a variety of electro-optical, infrared and communications payloads. These payloads provide ground- and ship-based commanders with high levels of situational awareness and precision targeting support.
Rick Pagel, Fire Scout's operations lead for Northrop Grumman, said of the contract in, ‘We are providing a level of situational awareness many soldiers in the field have never experienced. In the first five months we surpassed 1,500 hours with over 400 flights. Since Fire Scout doesn't require a runway, we are conveniently nearby and arrive on station quickly.’
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