The long range, long endurance flight was part of a series of capability based tests used by the Navy to validate their concept of operations and previously tested performance parameters. The Navy conducted the demonstration with support of Northrop Grumman engineers.
“Endurance flights provide a full evaluation of the MQ-8C Fire Scout systems. We can better understand the capability of the system and look at crew tasks and interactions in a controlled environment. This will allow us to adjust operational procedures to maximize the system's effectiveness,” said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Program Manager, Fire Scout, Naval Air Systems Command.
This is a new flight record set for the MQ-8 Fire Scout; a system designed to provide persistent reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces.
“Today's MQ-8C Fire Scout performance matches our model exactly. With adjustments, our production aircraft will have 12 hours of total endurance on a standard day. This prolonged endurance gives the Navy's Commanders a tremendous operational advantage. Increased time-on-station and fewer launch and recovery cycles better enables the Navy's diverse missions,” said George Vardoulakis, Vice President, Medium Range Tactical Systems, Northrop Grumman.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout completed its developmental flight test program earlier this year and has operational assessment planned for later this year. The MQ-8C Fire Scout has accumulated over 513 flight hours and flown 353 sorties.
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