A recent trial saw the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned air vehicle demonstrate its ability to operate from a US Coast Guard vessel during a flight test on board the USCGC Bertholf cutter.

The demonstration – organised by Northrop Grumman, the USCG and the US Navy - saw the UAV operated and controlled by navy and coast guard personnel from a control station on board the vessel during a 5 December trial off the coast of Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California.

MQ-8B - USCGC Bertholf - Northrop

MQ-8B - USCGC Bertholf - Northrop

Northrop Grumman

UAVs have the potential to increase the surveillance range and capability of the coast guard’s cutters, and the demonstration will help inform the service on the best way to proceed with the acquisition of the right unmanned capability in the future, Lt Cmdr Dan Broadhurst, UAS platform manager for USCG, says.

The MQ-8B is currently operational with the USN and deployed on frigates and littoral combat ships, having completed some 14,000 flight hours over 5,300 sorties.

Source: FlightGlobal.com