The U.S. Navy, with support from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC), commenced flight testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout (photo) equipped with the Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 radar.
“The AN/ZPY-8 radar significantly increases Fire Scout’s detection and tracking of targets. The ability to simultaneously employ multiple modes supports U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements,” said Melissa Packwood, Program Manager, Tactical Autonomous Systems, Northrop Grumman.
“This increased capability enables Fire Scout to extend ranges to meet emerging requirements,”
Operating out of Webster Outlying Field, the MQ-8C’s first flight with the radar occurred February 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.
Northrop Grumman also announced that its SeaFIND Inertial Navigation System has been type approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), formally certifying its use as a shipboard gyrocompass system for navigation for nations that need the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) compliance.
Following a rigorous process of test and evaluation, the USCG has officially type approved the SeaFIND system, proving its compatibility and conformity to the IMO’s requirements for a gyrocompass system in addition to its capabilities as an inertial navigator and navigation data distribution system for ships. T
The USCG certification includes the European Community’s (EC) Mark of Conformity (wheelmark) under the mutual recognition agreement between the U.S. and the EC for type approval.
“In addition to SeaFIND’s low size, weight and power (SWAP), affordability and reliable performance in a GPS denied environment, being type approved makes it very attractive to customers throughout the world,” said Todd Leavitt, Vice President, Maritime Systems & Integration, Northrop Grumman.
“This certification demonstrates that the system is compliant with a common standard and benchmark,” he added.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.