News Review: Fire Scout prepares for CENTCOM deployment | ADM June 2011
The US Navy’s Fire Scout UAV system was due to begin its first land-based deployment to US Central Command last month.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout program is led by the Navy and Marine Corps Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Air System program office, PMA-266, at Patuxent River. In response to an urgent needs requirement from the US DoD’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) task force, the team rapidly modified, tested and verified the Fire Scout system to adjust to land-based operations and the demanding environmental conditions in CENTCOM.
“The system has proven its capability on its two ship-based deployments, and I am confident it will perform well in CENTCOM,” Captain Tim Dunigan, PMA-266 program manager, said.
A combined team of military, civilian and contractor personnel loaded 90,000 pounds of equipment, including three aircraft, two ground control stations (GCS) and associated hardware, deployed aboard a US Air Force C-5 and a C-17 aircraft.
The Fire Scout will provide hundreds of hours of Full Motion Video in theatre supporting US Army and coalition forces during its year-long deployment. Northrop Grumman personnel will operate the system.
The system is also currently deployed aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG 40) and has logged more than 200 flight hours to date in support of humanitarian assistance and counter-piracy missions.