The US Navy has completed a successful concept of operations demonstration of an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter aboard the Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom.
The demonstration was done as part of preparations of the Fire Scout’s first operational deployment later this year, and comprised coordinated operations of the VTUAS with a manned Romeo Seahawk helicopter and rigid hull inflatable boats in conducting boarding operations.
“This assessment marks yet another MQ-8 system success in demonstrating effective unmanned aviation integration at sea,” the US Navy’s RAdm Mat Winter, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons said in a statement. “The effective blending of manned and unmanned aviation capabilities on LCS is key to providing our Navy the affordable warfighting capabilities they need to be where it matters, when it matters.”
Cmdr Rich Jarrett, Commanding Officer of LCS Crew 102 added; “Freedom has always been envisioned to have a combined detachment of MH-60R and Fire Scout air capability. We have the mission systems onboard, whether it’s surface warfare, ground control stations, or any of the components that allow us to operate both the unmanned vehicles and manned aviation systems.”