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Navy helicopter squadron with manned, unmanned aircraft established in NAS North Island ceremony

SAN DIEGO – The first Navy helicopter squadron to include manned and unmanned aircraft will be established during a ceremony Wednesday at NAS North Island.

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, the “Magicians,” will be outfitted with what the Navy calls its most technologically advanced helicopter, the Sikorsky Multi Mission MH60-R.

It will also have the Fire Scout MQ-8 B, a drone that looks and flies like a regular helicopter. The Fire Scout was only recently added to the fleet, according to the Navy.

The Navy says the unmanned chopper can be operated from up to 110 miles away.

The squadron will deploy on the new littoral combat ships — fast, highly maneuverable vessels designed for fighting in coastal waters.

The Navy is scheduled to hold a ceremony for the new squadron at 10 a.m. on base, with remarks from Vice Adm. David Buss, the commander of Naval Air Forces.

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