U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman begin flight testing MQ-8C Fire Scout equipped with AN/ZPY-8 radar

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy recently began flight testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout UAS equipped with the Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 radar.

The Fire Scout’s first flight with the radar took place on Feb. 27 at Webster Outlying Field. Before that flight, several weeks of ground tests were conducted. As the entities consider mission expansion opportunities for the UAS, testing will continue to progress.

“The AN/ZPY-8 radar significantly increases Fire Scout’s detection and tracking of targets. The ability to simultaneously employ multiple modes supports U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements,” explains Melissa Packwood, program manager, tactical autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman.

“This increased capability enables Fire Scout to extend ranges to meet emerging requirements.”

Thus far, Northrop Grumman has delivered 32 of 38 MQ-8Cs to the Navy. All of the UAS will be equipped with the AN/ZPY-8 radar.

Having achieved initial operational capability in June 2019, the MQ-8C is scheduled for its first deployment next year.