MQ-8C gets feet wet

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Richard Scott, London - IHS Jane's Navy International
23 December 2014
Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C variant of the US Navy's (USN's) Fire Scout unmanned air system (UAS) has completed a five-day flight test period on board the DDG-51 Flight IIA guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), marking its first ship-based underway period.

A Northrop Grumman MQ-8C has completed five days of dynamic interface tests on USS Jason Dunham. (Northrop Grumman)

Completed off the coast of Virginia on 19 December, the dynamic interface tests were designed to verify launch and recovery procedures before the MQ-8C undergoes operational testing in 2015.

Based on the Bell 407 helicopter, the MQ-8C Fire Scout is an upgrade to the existing Schweizer Aircraft 330-based MQ-8B variant, which first deployed in 2009. The larger air vehicle means the 'C' variant can fly nearly twice as long and carry three times more payload than its predecessor.

MQ-8C gets feet wet - IHS Jane's 360
 

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