US forces in Afghanistan use the Fire Scout UAV in airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, to deliver real-time video and targeting information to commanders on the ground.
Capt. Patrick Smith, program manager, Naval Air Systems Command, said: ‘Fire Scout’s versatility makes it an ideal intelligence-gathering asset for military units on the front line, both on land and at sea. This is a great accomplishment for the entire team and we have leveraged many lessons learned while we develop a more capable Fire Scout system.’
Northrop Grumman is under contract to the US Navy to build the first eight of 30 planned Endurance Upgrade Fire Scouts. Those aircraft, designated the MQ-8C, will have twice the endurance, three times the payload capability, and will be ready for operation next year.