Looking for a way in increase the surveillance range of its cutter, the U.S. Coast Guard tested an unmanned helicopter off Point Mugu in Ventura County.
The MQ-8B Fire Scout,built by Northrop Grumman in San Diego, took off for a test flight from the USCGC Bertholf with the helicopter being controlled by Navy pilots and Coast Guard personnel from a Fire Scout control station on the ship during a demonstration Dec. 5.
The demonstration will help the Coast Guard determine the capabilities of the Fire Scout for its uses, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Broadhurst said.
“The MQ-8B Fire Scout is the Navy’s combat-proven unmanned helicopter, and can provide the same persistent maritime surveillance capabilities for the Coast Guard,” Northrop Grumman’s spokesman George Vardoulakis said. “I’m confident that we’ll demonstrate increased NSC effectiveness while lowering the Coast Guard’s operational costs.”
A Fire Scout was recently deployed with a Navy’s littoral combat ship in San Diego.