The US Navy’s USS Coronado Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 have completed the first comprehensive initial operational test and evaluation for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, the navy announced on 9 July.

The results of this operational testing will inform decision-makers on how best to integrate the navy’s newest unmanned helicopter with LCS and other platforms.

During the testing, the MQ-8C Fire Scout performed several mission scenarios on board Coronado off the coast of southern California, in order to demonstrate cohesion between the surface and aviation platforms and evaluate Fire Scout’s role in target identification, intelligence gathering and surface warfare operations.

The testing also focused on developing practices for simultaneously operating and maintaining both the MQ-8C Fire Scout and the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. Results confirmed that while it requires extensive planning and coordination across the ship, simultaneous operations can be conducted.

Pierside testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout will continue on board Coronado throughout mid-July 2018 with a focus on maintenance and cyber.

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