MQ-8B Fire Scout


Program Overview

Northrop Grumman's Transformational Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle system provides unprecedented situation awareness and precision targeting support for U.S. Armed Forces of the future.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout has the ability to autonomously take off and land on any aviation-capable warship and at prepared and unprepared landing zones in proximity to the soldier in contact.

System Requirements

  • Autonomous operations from all air-capable ships
  • >8 hours continuous system on station coverage
  • Ceiling and airspeed: 20,000 ft, 125 + kts
  • >5 hours on station time (single vehicle) at 110 nm
  • Target location error < 12 m CEP
  • Interoperability through Tactical Control System (TCS) software and STANAG 4586 Compliance Payload Features
  • Modular Mission Payloads (MMP)
  • Plug and play product
  • Baseline MMP capability
    • EO/IR laser range finder designator
    • Voice/data communication relay
  • 600 pound lift capacity
  • Growth payloads
    • COMINT/SIGINT, Tactical Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR/MTI), Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), SATCOM,Sonobuoy delivery, expendables employment, threat countermeasures, mine detection, etc.

System Needs

  • Providing organic Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting (ISR/T) capabilities
  • Provides Over The Horizon (OTH) targeting
  • Provides "real- time" Battle Damage Assessment
  • Implements network centric warfare concepts with communications relay capability
  • Defense IT Standard Registry/Joint Technical Architecture (DISR/JTA) compliant
  • Fully interoperable between land and sea-based Tactical Control Systems

Legacy of High Reliability

Based on a Schweizer Aircraft commercial airframe with over 20 million flight hours, the Fire Scout vehicle incorporates reliable turbine power (160 million flight hours) using standard NATO heavy fuel. Leveraging from this FAA certified aircraft with commonality of over 50 percent of the mechanical parts, the servicing and logistical processes are well known, proven and documented. This "low risk" approach for the airframe allows effective maturation of the entire system within a short development schedule.