MQ-8C Fire Scout radar undergoes flight testing

FALLS CHURCH, Va. The U.S. Navy, with support from Northrop Grumman Corporation, commenced flight testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout equipped with the Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 radar.

According to company officials, the AN/ZPY-8 radar aims to increase Fire Scout’s detection and tracking of targets. It is designed with the ability to employ multiple modes to support U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements.

Operating out of Webster Outlying Field, the MQ-8C’s first flight with the radar occurred Feb. 27. Testing began with several weeks of ground test prior to the first flight and continues to progress as the Navy and Northrop Grumman consider mission expansion opportunities for the platform.

To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered 32 of 38 MQ-8Cs to the Navy, all of which will be retrofit with the AN/ZPY-8 radar. The MQ-8C achieved initial operational capability in June 2019 and is scheduled for its first deployment in 2021.