Unique Unmanned Autonomous Helicopter Spotted On USS Montgomery

Unique Unmanned Autonomous Helicopter Spotted On USS Montgomery
An MQ-8C Fire Scout on board littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman)

On  Jan. 12, 2020 unique unmanned autonomous helicopter spotted on USS Montgomery (LCS 8) during a live-fire exercise.

USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is on a rotational deployment to USINDOPACOM, conducting operations, exercises and port visits throughout the region and working hull-to-hull with allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

During a recent exercise, Sailors assigned to the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery conducted a flight operation of MQ-8B Navy Fire Scout of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 (HSC 23).

The Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout is an unmanned autonomous helicopter developed by Northrop Grumman for use by the United States Armed Forces.

The Fire Scout is designed to provide reconnaissance, situational awareness, aerial fire support, and precision targeting support for ground, air, and sea forces.

The initial RQ-8A version was based on the Schweizer 330, while the enhanced MQ-8B was derived from the Schweizer 333. The larger MQ-8C Fire Scout variant is based on the Bell 407.

The Navy has integrated a multi-mode maritime radar on MQ-8B and tested an onboard weapons capability, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).

The MQ-8B Fire Scout has also demonstrated the ability to operate concurrently with other manned aircraft while operating at sea.

The MQ-8B will be capable of deploying Hellfire laser-guided missiles or two packs of four 70mm (2.75in) Hydra rockets or advanced precision kill weapon system laser-guided rockets or two Northrop Grumman Viper Strike precision munitions. Viper Strike has a global positioning system (GPS) guidance and a semi-active laser seeker.

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