This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

US navy uses MQ-8B Firescout unmanned helicopters to counter illicit drug traffics


U.S. Navy uses MQ-8B Firescout unmanned autonomous helicopter launched from Freedom-variant littoral combat ship to counter illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
Follow Navy Recognition on Google News at this link


Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 An MQ-8B “Firescout” unmanned autonomous helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11), while underway April 8, 2021. (Picture source U.S. DoD)


On April 8, 2021, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has released pictures showing An MQ-8B “Firescout” unmanned autonomous helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11).

The USS Sioux City is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

Located at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South) conducts detection and monitoring (D&M) operations throughout their Joint Operating Area to facilitate the interdiction of illicit trafficking in support of national and partner nation security.

The MQ-8 nicknamed Fire Scout is an unmanned autonomous helicopter developed by Northrop Grumman in services with the United States Armed Forces. The MQ-8B is the naval version in the MQ-8 family that enters production in 2001.

The MQ-8B is powered by a Rolls-Royce M250-C47E engine rated at 522kW and has s a 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 MQ-8B has a length of 7.30 m, a wide of 1.9 m, and a tall of 2.96 m. It has a gross takeoff weight of 1,430 kg with a payload of up to 320 kg.

The MQ-8B can be armed with Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided 70 mm rocket. The UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is fitted a day/night vision system with a laser target designator will remain an option. Alternate sensor payloads can be mounted as a TSAR with Moving Target Indicator (MTI) capability, a multispectral sensor, a SIGINT module, the Target Acquisition Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS), and the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL).

The USS Sioux City (LCS-11) is a Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS in service with the United States Navy. It can carry up to two MH-60R/S Seahawks naval helicopters as well as one MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter.