The US Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) successfully completed self-directed flight operations onboard USS McInerney.

The operation is a critical step leading up to towards operational evaluation of the Fire Scout scheduled for later this summer.

The VTUAV developed by Northrop Grumman completed this critical step in support of the five-day dynamic interface testing happened at the Mayport, Florida.

As part of the testing, 12 flights were undertaken including 54 landings of which 37 were linked into the Nato standard grid. All operations were conducted with ship speeds up to 14kt.

The UAV completed the tests in areas of shipboard deck motion and wind envelope expansion and completed landings using both a grid and harpoon system.

Flights on the ship used shipboard UAV common auto recovery system for vehicle position data during shipboard landings.

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The Fire Scout is scheduled to deploy next year on USS McInerney as part of a counter-narcotics trafficking deployment.