‘Vital’ Milestone: Navy Helicopter Drone Completes First Exams

Think about making an attempt to land a distant-managed helicopter on prime of a motorboat that is rushing throughout a lake. Now think about that the helicopter is life measurement, the motorboat is a warship and the lake is the Atlantic Ocean. Navy pilots lately needed to deal with simply such a state of affairs as they examined the U.S. army’s latest drone, the MQ-8C Hearth Scout.

From a pc-crammed management station aboard the united statesJason Dunham, the pilots efficiently accomplished 32 takeoffs and landings with the brand new drone helicopter. The Navy carried out the exams, which ended Tuesday (Dec. 23), to evaluate the drone’s capabilities in several wind circumstances, and to see how properly it might land on a ship shifting at various speeds, in response to Navy officers. Along with touchdown and taking off, the Hearth Scout additionally accomplished three check flights, presumably touring out of view of the united statesDunham after which returning to the ship.

'Significant' Milestone: Navy Helicopter Drone Completes First TestsNorthrop Grumman
The Navy’s new MQ-8C accomplished 32 profitable takeoffs and landings aboard the united statesJason Dunham.

"The MQ-8C Hearth Scout’s flights from the united statesDunham characterize a big Navy milestone. That is the primary sea-based mostly flight of the MQ-8C, and the primary time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer," Capt. Jeff Dodge, Hearth Scout program supervisor with Naval Air Techniques Command (NAVAIR), stated in a press release. Destroyers are sometimes smaller than different ships from which drones could also be flown, reminiscent of plane carriers.

The Hearth Scout is a modified model of a Bell 407 utility helicopter, an plane utilized by governments, militaries and personal organizations all over the world. However the MQ-8C and its predecessor, the smaller MQ-8B, do not have pilots of their cockpits. As an alternative, operators fly these helicopters remotely, from management stations situated aboard ships or on land. [Rise of the Drones: Pictures of Unmanned Plane]

The MQ-8B was first deployed by the U.S. Navy in 2009 and has since been used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The MQ-8C is predicted to serve an analogous objective. Nevertheless, this newer plane can carry extra weight than its predecessor (about 1,000 lbs., versus 600 lbs.), and it could possibly keep within the air longer than its smaller cousin — about 12 hours if it is carrying solely 300 lbs. The MQ-8B can fly for less than 5.5 hours at a stretch when carrying the identical 300 lb. payload.

— Elizabeth Palermo, Reside Science

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First revealed December 24 2014, 2:29 PM