MQ-8 Fire Scout VTUAV Program: By Land or By Sea

MQ-8C Sunset - NG

Expecting a sunset?

July 27/23: Cyber Protection Northrop Grumman won a $20 million order by the US Navy, which provides for non-recurring engineering, hardware qualification, systems integration, safety assessment, retrofit installation, and flight testing of the payload interface unit and vehicle management computer upgrades to include a cyber-intrusion protection system in support of the MQ-8C vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle system. Work will be performed in San Diego, California; and Mojave, California, and is expected to be completed in May 2026.

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MQ-8B Fire Scout (click to view full) A helicopter UAV is very handy for naval ships, and for armies who can’t always depend on runways. The USA’s RQ/MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has blazed a trail of firsts in this area, but its history is best described as “colorful.” The program was begun by the US Navy, canceled, adopted by the US Army, revived by the Navy, then canceled by the Army. Leaving it back in the hands of the US Navy. Though the Army is thinking about joining again, and the base platform is changing. The question is, can the MQ-8 leverage its size, first-mover contract opportunity, and “good enough” performance into a secure future with the US Navy – and beyond? DID describes these new VTUAV platforms, clarifies the program’s structure and colorful history, lists all related contracts and events, and offers related research materials. MQ-8: The Platform MQ-8B Fire Scout MQ-8B Fire Scout (click to view full) The MQ-8AB Fire Scout (see Northrop Grumman’s full 655k cutaway diagram) is based on the Schweizer 333 light commercial helicopter. Up to 3 MQ-8Bs were envisioned in a ship’s complement, if it wished to fully replace 1 H-60 Seahawk […]

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