MQ-8B Fire Scout
Definition/Scope: The MQ-8 Fire Scout is an unmanned autonomuous helicopter developed for use by the United States armed forces. Northrop Grumman is developing the Fire Scout to provide reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support. The initial RQ-8A version was based on the Schweizer 330, while the enhanced MQ-8B is derived from the Schweizer 333. Although progress on the project had been regarded as satisfactory, the Navy decided the Fire Scout didn’t meet their needs after all, and cut funding for production in December 2001. However, the development program continued, and Northrop Grumman pitched a range of improved configurations to anyone who was interested. The U.S. Army was interested and awarded a contract for seven improved "RQ-8B" evaluation machines in late 2003. In 2006, it was redesignated "MQ-8B". The MQ-8B features four-blade main rotor, in contrast to the larger-diameter three-blade rotor of the RQ-8A, to reduce noise and improve lift capacity and performance. The four-blade rotor had already been evaluated on Fire Scout prototypes. They boost gross takeoff weight by 500 pounds to 3,150 pounds (by 225 kg to 1,430 kg), with payloads of up to 700 pounds (320 kg) for short-range missions. The MQ-8B is fitted with stub wings as well. The wings will serve both an aerodynamic purpose as well as an armament carriage location, to include weapons such as Hellfire missiles, Viper Strike laser-guided glide weapons, and in particular pods carrying the "Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS)", a laser-guided 70 millimeter (2.75 inch) folding-fin rocket, which the Army sees as ideal for the modern battlefield. The Army is also interested in using the Fire Scout to carry up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of emergency supplies to troops in the field. The Army interest revived Navy interest in the program, with the Navy ordering eight Sea Scout MQ-8B derivatives for evaluation.
Broader Terms:Army aircraft
Narrower Terms:Battle Damage Assessment
Related Terms:Bell Eagle Eye