The Navy demonstrated a mine countermeasure prototype technology on the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, according to a recent statement.
This marks the first time an MCM capability was flown on the Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout, the Navy said. The demonstration took place in May at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
“The team conducted operations from the Naval Surface Warfare Center utilizing drifting, tethered and moored mines throughout beach zone to deep waters. They gathered data day and night, across all water depths and in mild to difficult weather conditions,” the Navy said.
The demonstration also gathered performance data for the Single-system Multi-mission Airborne Mine Detection system, developed by BAE Systems.
The SMAMD system is an airborne optical sensor that can detect and localize mines on land and at sea, according to the Navy. The service is working to execute the final phase of SMAMD.
Northrop Grumman told Inside Defense in May that the service has pushed up the timeline to fully transition from the MQ-8B variant to the MQ-8C from fiscal year 2024 to the end of this year.