MQ-8C Unmanned Helicopter Completes First Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations Exercise

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  • 07:47 AM, August 18, 2022
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MQ-8C Unmanned Helicopter Completes First Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations Exercise
MQ-8C Fire Scout takes part in exercise Resolute Hunter @U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy’s autonomous, runway-independent helicopter system, MQ-8C, completed operations under the Expeditionary Advance Base Operations (EABO) concept, providing persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capabilities.

MQ-8C Fire Scout was launched from the Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle Maintenance Detachment at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, simulating a ship-based departure. The Navy conducted a control system hand-off of the MQ-8C Fire Scout from Point Mugu to San Clemente Island, California, demonstrating the ship-to-shore transition capability of the platform in a maritime expeditionary environment.

With the Navy’s Portable Mission Control Station (MCS-P), the system was recovered and redeployed rapidly for operational flexibility. The portable MCS-P ground control station helps MQ-8C Fire Scout basing in austere locations on land, helipad operations in an advanced forward location, and logistics support from ship flight decks. With identical ship-based hardware, screen configuration and software, operations remain consistent across all ship classes.

“We are supporting MQ-8C deployments on littoral combat ships while assisting the Navy with Fire Scout mission expansion efforts to include operations from other surface ships and shore-based sites,” said Lance Eischeid, director, Fire Scout program, Northrop Grumman. “This EABO demonstration further proves the flexible utility of Fire Scout for expeditionary use from land and across multiple ship classes.”

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