MQ-8C Fire Scout completes first IOTE onboard an LCS

By Justin Katz / July 10, 2018 at 9:44 AM

A test and evaluation squadron completed the first "comprehensive" initial operational test and evaluation on the MQ-8C Fire Scout last month, according to a July 9 Navy statement.

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) used the Fire Scout to perform several mission scenarios off the coast of California onboard the Littoral Combat Ship Coronado (LCS-4).

The squadron "conducted simulated engagements to evaluate Fire Scout's role in target identification, intelligence gathering and surface warfare operations," according to the Navy statement. The testing also focused on practices for simultaneously maintaining both the Fire Scout and the MH-60S Seahawk.

The Navy plans to continue pierside testing onboard the Coronado throughout July.

Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C swaps out all the hardware and software from its predecessor, the MQ-8B, into a larger Textron-Bell 407 helicopter. The program's first variant, the RQ-8A, is no longer in service.