Northrop Grumman’s new MQ-8C Fire Scout combines the best of two proven air systems in a low-cost, fast-fielding package. The expanded capability VTUAV (Vertical Takeoff and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) offers the versatile RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition) architecture of the U.S. Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout, and the extended range, payload and cargo hauling capabilities of the commercially mature, FAA-certified Bell 407 helicopter.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is a fully autonomous, four-blade, single-engine unmanned helicopter. Like the MQ-8B, it will carry an array of RSTA sensors to support warfighters’ demands for enhanced situational awareness. Its extended cargo and payload capability (2,650 lbs/1,202.02 kg maximum external), and increased endurance will deliver additional mission flexibility to commanders on the ground.
The Bell 407 helicopter currently serves the commercial human transportation requirements of corporations, hospitals, news organizations, movie studios and law enforcement agencies worldwide, with more than 1,000 systems in service and over 3 million accumulated flight hours.
Versatile, Flexible Platform
MQ-8C Fire Scout supports both maritime and land-based missions, taking off and landing on aviation-capable warships, and at prepared and unprepared landing zones in proximity to ground troops. It has also been designed to operate with nearly any type of future or current military standards-based control segment, communicating as easily with shipboard controllers using the Navy’s Tactical Control Station as field commanders using the U.S. Army’s universal ground control station.
Meeting Future Requirements
The MQ-8C Fire Scout delivers what military planners want, and what warfighters need. This reliable, low-cost vertical unmanned system that is versatile enough to support the diverse ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), cargo, and communications requirements of land and sea forces, while being rugged and persistent enough to stay in the fight until the mission is complete.
|Length||41.4 ft/12.6 m|
|Width||7.8 ft/2.4 m|
|Blades Folded Hangar||7.8×34.7×10.9 ft/2.4×10.6×3.3 m|
|Height||10.9 ft/3.3 m|
|Rotor Diameter||35 ft/10.7 m|
|Gross Takeoff Weight||6,000 lbs/2,721.55 kg|
|Engine||Rolls-Royce M250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)|
|Speed||140 knots/161.109 mph/259.28 km/h (maximum)|
|Operational Ceiling||17,000 ft/5,181.6 m|
|Maximum Endurance||14 hrs|
|Maximum Payload (Internal)||1,000 lbs/453.592 kg|
|Typical Payload||600 lbs/272.155 kg (11 hrs endurance)|
|Maximum Sling Load||2,650 lbs/1,202.02 kg|
The Rolls-Royce M250 engine is the leading powerplant in its class worldwide. First certified at a rating of 317 shp/236.39 kW, continuous improvement programs have increased the latest variant’s rating to 715 shp/533.18 kW.
To date the M250 engine family has accumulated:
- more than 31,000 engines produced, with 16,000 in service;
- more than 220 million flight hours logged to date;
- more than 170 helicopter and fixed-wing applications in both civil and military markets.
M250 engine variants power aircraft in civil and defence markets in applications supporting EMS (Emergency Medical Services), air tour, utility, scout, and unmanned surveillance.
The M250 product line enjoys continuous integration of advanced turbine engine technology making the M250 the most reliable, cost effective and durable engine in the world. In addition, its proud heritage, the engine is backed by a worldwide-authorised repair and overhaul network. M250 customers can expect freedom of support anywhere.
The new Value Improvement Package (VIP kit) gives Series IV operators a post-production option to improve performance by five percent. A Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) upgrade program will also deliver improved capability and reliability.
The M250 turboshaft engines are of two-shaft modular design featuring a two-stage LP (Low-Pressure) turbine, two-stage HP (High-Pressure) turbine, and a gearbox with 6,000 rpm (revolutions per minute) output. Compressed air is routed to the aft end of the engine for combustion, with exhaust gases exit from the middle.
The Series II features four to six-stage axial and single-stage centrifugal compressors with a hydromechanical fuel control system. The larger Series IV family is identical in layout, but has a single-stage centrifugal rather than an axial/centrifugal compressor.
|Power||651 shp/485.45 kW|
|Length||42.949 in/1.091 m|
|Diameter||24.810 in/0.630 m|
|Basic weight||274 lbs/124.284 kg|
|Compressor||1CF (centrifugal high-pressure)|
|Turbine||2HP (two-stage high-pressure turbine), 2PT (two-stage power turbine)|