Saturday, June 30, 2012

Record four Fire Scouts deploy

The guided missile frigate USS Klakring left Mayport, Fla., on Friday with a record four Fire Scout unmanned helicopters for a six-month deployment. The drones will operate up to 12 hours per day, testing their ability to linger in the air for long periods to provide real-time surveillance. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 will operate the drones in support of operations off the Horn of Africa. HSL-42 has worked with the MQ-8B since 2008 when the USS McInerney was retrofitted for the Fire Scout's first deployment. Last year HSL-42 deployed with two Fire Scouts and an H-60 helicopter aboard USS Halyburton. Three Fire Scouts are also operating in Afghanistan. (Sources: Naval Air Systems Command, UT San Diego, 06/29/12) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are built in part in Moss Point, Miss., at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Center.