Military Embedded Systems

MQ-8C Fire Scout, first unmanned helicopter to take off from a destroyer


December 24, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

NORFOLK, Va. U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman officials flew the MQ-8C Fire Scout system for the first time off the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) this month off the Virginia coast.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout made 22 takeoffs and 22 landings while operators controlled it from the ship's control station. This flight followed more than a year of land-based testing at Point Mugu, Calif.

To watch a video of the flight, visit

"This is the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer," says Capt. Jeff Dodge, Naval Air Systems Command Fire Scout program manager. The unmanned helicopter's increased endurance will enable ship commanders and pilots to have a longer on station presence, he adds.


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