Coast Guard finally moves on after Eagle Eye misadventure

In the end, even the US Coast Guard’s professional lifesavers couldn’t save the Bell TR918 Eagle Eye. After spending a decade adrift in the high-seas of marketing failure, the Eagle Eye was dropped a rescue hoist by the USCG’s Deepwater program in 2002. But, for all their efforts, the USCG was just keeping a terminal patient on a billion-dollar life support program. A mysterious and never-resolved crash in 2006 grounded the Eagle Eye for good, and the USCG finally stopped payments to Bell earlier this year.

Eight months later, the USCG yesterday dipped their toe back into the ship-based UAS business, sending out a request for information to industry.

All signs point to the Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout as the leading candidate. Burned by the Eagle Eye, the USCG is keen to buy a non-developmental solution. Northrop tested a Telephonics-made maritime radar on the Fire Scout in September — the only USCG payload still unproven on the RQ-8B.

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