Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Autonomous Helicopter (UAH)
The Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout UAH series intends to bring a whole level of overwater resupply capabilities to the USN.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Northrop Grumman MQ-8 is classified as a "Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" and - unlike other UAVs in operation today - is more akin in form and function to a traditional helicopter than a fixed-wing aircraft. As a rotary-wing design, the MQ-8 can take off and land vertically from virtually any terrain type and can loiter in air for extended periods of time - features not available to other UAV classes. The system is designed to provide for real-time reconnaissance, surveillance of enemy movement, battle damage assessment, direct targeting of enemy personnel/vehicles and general intelligence gathering. Its aerial nature provides ground commanders (from the company level to small unit) the necessary "eyes in the sky" that can make a true difference in battle - supplying Over The Horizon (OTH) vantage points not unlike the manned reconnaissance balloons of World War 1.
The RQ-8/MQ-8 was born out of a US Navy need to replace its aged and outgoing RQ-2 Pioneer fixed-wing UAV systems. As the use of UAVs began to grow throughout the US military - and specifically within USN doctrine - so did the requirements for a new multi-faceted UAV system. As such, the Navy specified a modern UAV design to have a range out to 125 miles with a mission endurance time of at least 3 hours and be able to carry a payload of up to 200lbs. Additionally, as a USN aircraft, the UAV should also possess the ability to be launched and retrieved at sea from the decks of existing USN surface vessels.