An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 performs ground turns aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). Credit: US Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Conor Minto

USN demonstrates integrated UAS/SeaHawk targeting

A US Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron has made history on September 14, using a Fire Scout UAS as laser designator platform for a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter to fire a AGM-114N Hellfire missile.

The test was undertaken off the Californian Point Mugu weapons range against a dynamic target which moved at approximately 10-15 knots. The Fire Scout detected target location and was transmitted to the MH-60S for targeting. Once all target requirements were met, the Fire Scout lased the target while the MH-60S moved forward and into position for the running missile shot.


 

"[This] greatly expands the lethal range of the MH-60S while keeping air crews out of harm's way."

 


"It was awesome to see the MQ-8B and MH-60S tactics and procedures being used in conjunction with each other for the first time," MH60S pilot Lieutenant Commander Thanh Nguyen said. "We were able to validate the Fire Scout's ability to find and designate a target, which greatly expands the lethal range of the MH-60S while keeping air crews out of harm's way."

The successful Hellfire shot marks a significant milestone in the integration between Navy-manned helicopters and unmanned assets.
"The hunter-killer team of Fire Scout and MH-60S is now a proven combination that will be a game-changer for future deployments," said LCDR Nguyen.

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