The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has announced that the Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout recently supported an Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) exercise off the coast of California, demonstrating its capability to transition from ship-to-shore in a maritime environment.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout participated in the Resolute Hunter exercise June 21-July 1, flying a total of 23 hours and proving the unmanned helicopter’s expeditionary use from land and across multiple ship classes.
Resolute Hunter is a joint and coalition large force exercise focused on training personnel on battle management, command and control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
“Fire Scout is the Navy’s only unmanned helicopter with the ability to deploy from a ship or land with ISR&T at the extended range required for future warfighting,” said Capt. Dennis Monagle, Fire Scout program manager. “The system is vital in expeditionary use for situational awareness and critical decision-making.”
During the exercise, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 successfully launched MQ-8C Fire Scout from Point Mugu and completed a hand-off to the detachment’s Portable Mission Control Station (MCS-P) at San Clemente Island. The portable MCS-P ground control station helps Fire Scout basing in austere locations on land, helipad operations in an advanced forward location, and logistics support from ship flight decks.
With the flexible MCS-P, Fire Scout has the ability to land on another ship or an expeditionary shore site where a runway is not feasible.
Fire Scout is currently deployed aboard USS Jackson (LCS-6) in the Indo-Pacific region. The Navy plans to continue deployments aboard LCS with future deployments planned on Constellation-class guided-missile frigates and potential operations from shore sites under the EABO concept.