US Navy trials Fire Scout for Expeditionary Advance Base Operations
Northrop Grumman revealed on 17 August that its MQ-8C Fire Scout uncrewed rotary-wing aircraft has successfully provided ISR and targeting capabilities in a recent demonstration of the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concept.
For the ship-to-shore transition demonstration, an MQ-8C was launched from Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, simulating a ship-based departure.
‘The Navy conducted a control system hand-off of the MQ-8C Fire Scout from Point Mugu to San Clemente Island, California, demonstrating the ship-to-shore transition capability of the platform in a maritime expeditionary environment,’ Northrop Grumman stated.
The MQ-8C was recovered and redeployed rapidly with the help of a Portable Mission Control Station, which is a ground station designed to aid Fire Scout basing in austere locations on land, helipad operations in an advanced forward location, and logistics support from ship flight decks.
‘With identical ship-based hardware, screen configuration and software, operations remain consistent across all ship classes,’ Northrop Grumman added.
EABO focuses on a form of expeditionary warfare that involves the employment of mobile, low-signature, operationally relevant and relatively easy-to-maintain forces.
Lance Eischeid, Fire Scout programme director at Northrop Grumman, said: ‘This EABO demonstration further proves the flexible utility of Fire Scout for expeditionary use from land and across multiple ship classes.’
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