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MQ-8B Fire Scout: Tactical Unmanned Power

April 2012 Military Power

Text By Jason Thompson, Photography by Northrup Gruman, U.S. Navy

The Fire Scout is a diesel- or JP8-powered unmanned helicopter that adds unmatched capability to the U.S. military. It combines a proven turboshaft engine and airframe with state-of-the-art electronics, which are able to provide targeting support and situational awareness. Officially known as a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System (VTUAV), the program started back in February 2000 when Northrop Grumman won a U.S. Navy development contract. The Fire Scout MQ-8B is based on the Schweizer Model 333 manned helicopter. December 17, 2003 was the 100th anniversary of manned flight—on that day the unmanned Fire Scout made its 100th consecutive successful flight.

MIL-SPEC: MQ-8B Fire Scout (VTUAV)
Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman (Moss Point, Mississippi)
Fuselage length (with dual payload nose): 23.95 feet
Fuselage width: 6.20 feet
Length (with blades folded forward): 30.03 feet
Rotor Diameter: 27.50 feet
Height (top of tail antenna): 9.7 feet
Gross weight: 3,150 pounds
Speed: More than 115 knots
Ceiling: 20,000 feet

flight times:
with minimum payload: More than 8 hours
with Electro-optical, infrared image, and radar: More than 7 hours
with Maximum Payload: More than 5 hours

Engine: Model 250-C20W
Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce
Type: Turboshaft
Power: 420 hp
Pressure ratio: 7.2
Length: 38.8 inches
Diameter: 19 inches
Weight: 158 pounds
Compressor: 6hp + 1 centrifugal high-pressure
Turbine: 2hp, 2PT (power turbine)

Northrop Grumman
By Jason Thompson
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