Firescout bluewater deployment.

FireScout

The MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is performing its first blue water deployment on board a U.S. Navy warship, directed by NAS Jacksonville-based Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Detachment 2. The detachment consists of two MQ-8B Fire Scouts and one SH-60B Seahawk helicopter on board the NS Mayport-based guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG-40).

The Fire Scout UAV system provides unprecedented situation awareness and precision targeting support for any aviation-capable warship, or at prepared and unprepared landing zones.
This deployment represents the first time Fire Scout will be used in the 6th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

Fire Scout made its first deployment in 2010 on board the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG-8) where it was utilized for counter-narcotics operations. In November 2010, Fire Scout was certified for blue water operation, which means that the system can fly without a land divert requirement.
T
he MQ-8B Fire Scout primarily performs surveillance and locates targets. It tracks, designates, and provides accurate targeting data to strike platforms – including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and ships. With a range of 110 nautical miles radius, plus, five hours on station, it also performs battle damage assessment. Fire Scout has the potential to be a significant force multiplier through this hybrid naval aviation detachment.