NGC's MQ-8C Fire Scout Prepares for Shipboard Testing
- MQ-8C Fire Scout completes "slope testing"
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully completed precision sloped landing tests Aug. 27 with the MQ-8C Fire Scout at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, in preparation for at-sea testing.
MQ-8C Fire Scout has been undergoing rigorous flight testing and validation, which will culminate in the actual takeoff and landing on the deck of a Navy vessel at-sea. The MQ-8C is the company's latest variant of its successful Fire Scout unmanned aerial system, which performs intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the U.S. Navy.
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"The sloped takeoff and landing tests are designed to be as real as it gets to actually operating on a Navy ship," said Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager at Naval Air Systems Command. "The autonomous MQ-8C Fire Scout system is able to precisely track and understand the roll and pitch of the surface which resembles at-sea conditions."
The sloped landing platform was previously used to test and certify the MQ-8B Fire Scout for ship-based operations and is now being used for the more capable MQ-8C. The MQ-8C is utilizing the same proven autonomous system for takeoff and landings as the current MQ-8B model.
"The MQ-8C Fire Scout system is performing as predicted and as previously demonstrated during Fire-X testing back in 2011," said George Vardoulakis, vice president for Medium Range Tactical Systems, Northrop Grumman. "These tests enable a validation of our autonomous system and clear the way for dynamic interface testing onboard the ship."
Since its first flight Oct. 31, 2013, the MQ-8C Fire Scout has flown 219 flights and 287 hours. The most recent tests on the MQ-8C have consisted of electromagnetic testing, which assured compatibility with ship-based emitters (like radar) and an initial phase of dynamic interface testing, which looked at deck handling and communications networks. The MQ-8C's first ship-based series of flights are planned for later this year.
Source : Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) - view original press release