RQ-8A Fire Scout

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. | The Navy successfully conducted the first flight test of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) Block I system at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., October 13, testing the system’s performance on the Fire Scout vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicle.

The AN/DVS-1 COBRA system allows the MQ-8B Fire Scout to conduct unmanned aerial reconnaissance in littoral areas, detecting minefields and obstacles to prepare for amphibious assaults. Incrementally development, the Block I upgrade was designed to specifically address the beach zone and inland areas.

“COBRA will provide valuable minefield, obstacle, and bathymetry information to the warfighter and amphibious task groups, information which is critical to amphibious assault planning,” said Capt. John Hardison, deputy program manager for Mine Warfare Programs. “Successful completion of these tests is a significant leap forward in delivering this capability.”

The Fire Scout, equipped with COBRA, conducted integration testing and flew for approximately 2 1/2 hours. Several successful tracks were completed in both pre-planned and operator-controlled modes and the systems conducted simulated missions. Take-off and landing went without incident, and the system completed all test scenarios.

With the successful completion of the first COBRA flight on Fire Scout, the system moves closer to delivery and deployment. The COBRA Block I system will enter low-rate initial production under a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase III contract. Under this contract, the first production unit is scheduled for delivery to the fleet in fiscal year 2012.

An affiliated program executive office of the Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO LMW designs, delivers and maintains systems, equipment and weapons needed by the warfighter to dominate the littoral battle space, and provides assured access to the warfighter.

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.