MEDITERRANEAN SEA — Helicopter Strike Maritime Squadron (HSM) 46, Det. 9 recently surpassed the MQ-8B Fire Scout’s previous monthly flight hour record while performing operations at sea aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58).
In June, four Fire Scouts that embarked on the frigate flew 333 flight hours, exceeding the unmanned helicopter’s previously monthly operational flight time record by more than 110 hours.
While at sea, the Fire Scouts regularly fly 18 hours per day while providing a 12-hour real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) orbit to combatant commanders.
“The teams from USS Samuel B. Roberts and HSM-46 have built on the great success of earlier deployed operators,” said Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager. “Their perseverance and mission effectiveness have demonstrated the real difference that maritime-based ISR can make to combatant commanders.”
This is the Fire Scout’s sixth underway deployment aboard a U.S. Navy frigate. Just like earlier deployments, the ship receives communication upgrades that allow the aircraft’s Full Motion Video (FMV) camera feed to be distributed to the ship’s Combat Information Center (CIC) and to commanders at military installations throughout the world.
“None of these achievements would be possible without the hard work and efforts by the entire team aboard USS Samuel B Roberts,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gerhart, HSM-46, Det. 9 officer in charge. “We are just two months into our six-month deployment, but the operators and maintainers have put in significant hours supporting the needs of the warfare commanders. They can be justly proud of setting a new standard for embarked operations of the Fire Scout.”