PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off/Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has undergone testing in preparation for deployment.
Over the course of one day, teams from the Navy and industry partner Northrop Grumman tested the aircraft at Webster Field, Md., Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., aboard the USS Halyburton off the coast of Florida and from the USS Freedom at the sea range in Point Mugu, Calif.
"Flying in four locations in one day, off two classes of ships -- which includes our newest (Littoral Combat Ship) -- marks a major milestone for our program and for Naval Aviation," said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.
"This success highlights the phenomenal efforts of the entire Fire Scout team and sets the stage for the introduction of a game-changing capability to our warfighters."
Northrop's 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. It has an operational ceiling of about 20,000 feet and can fly at more than 125 knots.
The Navy said the system will support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions aboard the USS Halyburton in the Mediterranean Sea and Horn of Africa and ground-based operations in Central Command next year.
Among the tests conducted last month were Phase One of dynamic interface testing, which defines the launch and recovery wind envelope aboard the ship, pilot proficiency and vibration monitoring system testing.