Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 received their first MQ-8C Firescout on September 15 aboard Naval Station Norfolk.
HSC-22 marks the first East Coast squadron to operate all three systems to include the MH-60S Knighthawk, MQ-8B Firescout, and MQ-8C Firescout. The new added capability of the MQ-8C combines the capabilities of the MQ-8B with the MH-60S Knighthawk to improve the Navy’s ability to investigate and target hostile surface contacts.
«Incorporating the MQ-8C Firescout will represent a significant improvement in our unmanned air vehicle mission capability», said Commander Matthew Wright, HSC-22’s commanding officer. «The ‘Charlie’ is bigger, faster, can carry more mission equipment, and remain airborne over twice as long as our already-proven MQ-8B’s».
MQ-8B and C Firescout variants are designed for suitably equipped ship-based and land-based autonomous systems. MQ-8B and C Firescout/MH-60S extend Naval Aviation’s capability to support distributed maritime operations providing integrated, over-the-horizon intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting, and combat logistics support.
While the majority of the flight software in the MQ-8C Firescout is similar to the MQ-8B Firescout variant, the aircrews must adapt to the new capabilities of upgraded Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to include obtaining additional qualifications required for the maintenance team.
Lieutenant Ryan Jaenke, MH-60S, MQ-8B/C pilot, discussed the advanced capabilities of the MQ-8C Firescout.
«The MQ-8C Firescout is the latest step toward increasing the duration that UAS has on the battlefield as well as the impact. It advances the reliability of UAS as well as leaves a larger impact on the battlefield in missions that are not new to today’s warfighter», said Jaenke.
HSC-22’s mission is to provide manned and unmanned maritime attack and combat support capabilities to the fleet. HSC-22’s inherent versatility provides full-spectrum warfighting support across multiple mission-sets and diverse and distributed platforms.
|Length||41.4 feet/12.6 m|
|Width||7.8 feet/2.4 m|
|Blades Folded Hangar||7.8×34.7×10.9 feet/2.4×10.6×3.3 m|
|Height||10.9 feet/3.3 m|
|Rotor Diameter||35 feet/10.7 m|
|Gross Takeoff Weight||6,000 lbs/2,721.5 kg|
|Engine||Rolls-Royce M250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)|
|Speed||140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h (maximum)|
|Operational Ceiling||17,000 feet/5,182 m|
|Maximum Endurance||14 hrs|
|Maximum Payload (Internal)||1,000 lbs/453.6 kg|
|Typical Payload||600 lbs/272 kg (11 hrs endurance)|
|Maximum Sling Load||2,650 lbs/1,202 kg|
|Power||651 shp/485.45 kW|
|Length||42.95 inch/1.09 m|
|Diameter||24.81 inch/0.63 m|
|Basic weight||274 lbs/124.3 kg|
|Compressor||1CF (centrifugal high-pressure)|
|Turbine||2HP (two-stage high-pressure turbine), 2PT (two-stage power turbine)|