SAN DIEGO, May 29, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed (NYSE:NOC) MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) successfully completed the latest set of fully autonomous flight operations onboard the USS McInerney (FFG-8) in support of dynamic interface testing. This was a critical step for the U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scout toward Operational Evaluation (OpEval), scheduled for later this summer.
These recent flight tests took place May 4-8 off the coast of Mayport, Fla. The U.S. Navy Fire Scout completed test flights in areas of shipboard deck motion and wind envelope expansion and landings including the use of the grid and harpoon system. All flights onboard the USS McInerney included use of the shipboard UAV Common Auto Recovery System (UCARS) used for vehicle position data during shipboard landings. During the five days of testing, the ship/aircraft team compiled 19 flight hours during 12 flights, which included 54 landings, 37 of which were into the NATO standard grid. Operations were conducted with ship speeds up to 14 knots, ship roll up to five degrees, and wind over deck of up to 25 knots. All test events were completed satisfactorily, which will set the stage for OpEval.