Photo credit: Jrfreeland , MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Air System (VUAS) flies with the BRITE Star II electro-optical/infrared payload using a Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) at Webster Field, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
DefenseNews is reporting Fire Scout is currently deployed on four ships including the Bertholf.
“On Dec. 2, the California-based Coast Guard cutter Bertholf got underway off Southern California carrying two Fire Scouts, the first time Coasties have operated the drone aboard a national security cutter.
“Not all the embarks are aimed directly at operational needs. The Coast Guard concept demonstration, Dodge said, “will show what they can do with a large-sized aircraft.” Fire Scout, he said, “is probably on the large side of potential solutions for their cutters. I think they’re still trying to sort out what their need is.”
“The Bertholf demonstration is using two 8Bs — one an instrumented test aircraft, the other fitted with a search radar, one of five Bravo models being upgraded with a small Telephonics ZPY-4 radar fitted in the nose.
“A full Fire Scout operating system wasn’t installed on the Bertholf for the tests, scheduled to run about two weeks. “Instead of fully integrating the mission control station into the ship, we put it in a conex box,” Dodge said.”
The Post talks about other on-going activity, production plans, and losses amoung the Fire Scout fleet.
Late addition, video of the Firescout MQ-8B operating from Bertholf: