The U.S. Navy has moved one step closer to operational
capability for its RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical
takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the
on-time delivery of the second production unit by Northrop
The company's Integrated Systems sector delivered the air
vehicle April 14 to the Navy's Webster Field UAV test facility,
Naval Air Station Patuxent River (MD).
"Delivering the second Fire Scout production vehicle is an
important and necessary step on the path to demonstrating the
system's distinctive technical capabilities, such as landing aboard
a ship," said Scott Winship, Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout program
The Fire Scout production vehicles are integrated
and tested at Integrated Systems' Unmanned Systems unit in San
Diego (CA). The second vehicle was rolled out April 4.
The Navy and Northrop Grumman began the Fire Scout's so-far
flawless flight test program in May of last year. To date, the
development team has conducted 40 consecutive successful flight
tests. The team is currently making preparations to begin
land-based takeoff and recovery flight-testing with the UAV Common
Automatic Recovery System and Tactical Control System in early
summer. This testing is a precursor to shipboard testing later this
summer on the USS Denver Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD-9)
off the coast of San Diego.