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Navy Tests MQ-8C Autonomous Helicopter Aboard Montgomery LCS

The U.S. Navy has evaluated the launch-and-recovery functions of a Northrop Grumman-built MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter and its interoperability with a littoral combat ship as part of an interface test.

The Navy said Tuesday its MQ-8C unmanned autonomous helicopter has returned from the USS Montgomery after the helicopter completed more than 37 recovery missions over a seven-day period to assess the helicopter’s capacity for continued operations in environments with electromagnetic interference, pitch, roll and wind challenges.

Fire Scout functions alongside the Sikorsky-built MH-60 manned helicopter to help extend the range and endurance of ship-based operations as well as provide situational awareness and precision target data to the service branch.

Richard Gorman, Fire Scout lead assistant program manager for test and evaluation, said the test will help establish the flight envelope for the execution of MQ-8C deployments aboard littoral combat ships.

Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager, said the evaluation also helped the service branch verify the helicopter’s capacity to serve as a Navy maritime platform.

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