Friday, April 22, 2011

Fire Scouts to fly Afghan missions

Navy Fire Scouts have been shipped to the Central Command to support Army and coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Navy said. The unmanned helicopter system, under development by the Naval Air Systems Command to operate from ships, will be land-based in CENTCOM for about a year. Fixed-wing drones have performed missions in the region and elsewhere ranging from surveillance to air strikes. Fire Scout is a small helicopter able to stay aloft more than eight hours, fly up to about 17,000 feet and travel about 115 knots. The system deployed to Central Command includes three MQ-8B aircraft, two ground control station and other hardware. Personnel from Northrop Grumman will operate the system. (Source: Navy Times, 04/21/11, NAVAIR, 04/20/11) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.