MQ-8B Fire Scout flies with biofuel

Oct. 4, 2011 at 6:40 AM

PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout successfully flew using a biofuel, achieving a milestone in the quest to gain energy independence.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Directorate piloted the helicopter fueled with a combination of JP-5 aviation fuel and camelina-based fuel. The biofuel blend reduces carbon dioxide output 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.

"Today's flight marks a significant milestone with Fire Scout being the Navy's first unmanned aircraft to use biofuel technology," said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

"I am very pleased we can add MQ-8B to the list of successful bio-flights completed at Pax (Patuxent) River this year, bringing us one step closer to achieving the Navy's energy goals."

The MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle provides critical situational awareness, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting data to the forward-deployed warfighter.

It is the seventh aircraft to demonstrate the versatility of biofuel through its use in all facets of naval aviation. The completion of aircraft biofuel testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River is another example of the Navy's determination in achieving its goal of launching the "Great Green Fleet," the Navy said.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout is an unmanned rotary aircraft built by Northrop Grumman.

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