Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Navy deploys MQ-8B Fire Scout with new radar to assist in flight operations


June 29, 2016

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Navy deploys MQ-8B Fire Scout with new radar to assist in flight operations
Photo by U.S. Navy

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. U.S. Navy officials announced the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter deployed on the USS Coronado (LCS-4) equipped with the new AN/ZPY-4(V)1 radar for manned/unmanned teaming flight operations.

Navy officials say the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron two three (HSC-23) will operate both the Fire Scout and the MH-60S Seahawk to increase situational awareness and threat warning in a high-traffic littoral environment.

Capt. Ben Reynolds, Commodore of the HSC Wing Pacific, says, “Our overall goal for the first-ever HSC/LCS deployment is to integrate the MQ-8B Fire Scout and MH-60S in all available scenarios in order to act as a force multiplier for ships and to function as a vital arm of distributed lethality for the tactical commander."

Adding the AN/ZPY-4(V)1 radar to the MQ-8B Fire Scout "will significantly improve the Navy's surface search capabilities for LCS and its action group," Reynolds continues. "The expanded capability will allow our assets to employ an autonomous aircraft off of a naval vessel for search, detection, surveillance, and tracking of maritime surface vessels.”

Telephonics Corp. built the maritime surveillances radar and it will also improve target classification. The radar can track up to 150 targets and increase detection accuracies out to 70 nautical miles. Officials say the radar will be used in support of Surface Unit Warfare objectives and the MQ-8B Fire Scout will also support the Navy’s biennially RIMPAC exercise this summer while deployed aboard LCS-4.

Working together with the LCS and mission packaging crew, this capability will allow the manned/unmanned aviation detachment to improve their battle space awareness while building a detailed operational picture, Reynolds states.

“We continue to evolve into full manned-unmanned teaming by conducting simultaneous missions in the air by determining how best to use MQ-8B and MH-60S for traditional maritime operations,” says Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager.

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