There’s a new Fire Scout in the pipeline — bigger, faster, longer legs, more muscle. It’s still being assembled and won’t fly until later this year, but it’s headed for the fleet as soon as late 2014. And it could fundamentally change some of the parameters expected of the Navy’s seagoing unmanned helicopter program.
The Navy often presents the diminutive Northrop Grumman aircraft as taking up about half the space of the H-60 Seahawk helos routinely deployed on surface combatants. And frigates are deploying with four MQ-8B Fire Scouts. Littoral combat ships are intended to routinely deploy with one or two Fire Scouts in addition to an H-60.