The United Arab Emirates got a 10-day look at the MQ-8 Fire Scout as Northrop Grumman prepared the unmanned vertical takeoff and landing system for US Navy evaluation later this year.

In early July, a UAE-painted Fire Scout weathered extreme conditions during the demonstration, including takeoffs and landings in 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) heat and high, sand-filled winds. The four-bladed unmanned helicopter climbed to test altitudes of nearly 10,000ft and demonstrated its non-line-of-sight sensor operations capabilities, including its FLIR Systems electro-optical/infrared sensing capabilities used to locate and acquire targets.

A video montage of Fire Scout field trial sensor was presented 14 June to interested multi-national government agencies and media, showcasing the MQ-8's real-time imagery-transmission capability, Northrop says.

The US Navy's will conduct operational evaluation of the system late this year aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG-40).

With more than 20 million flight hours, it is currently the Pentagon's only unmanned VTOL programme of record.

Source: Flight International