|Fire Scout UAV Continues Flight Tests|
Fire Scout UAV Continues Flight Tests
Source: NAVAIR Press Release Number: EPEOW200206141. Washington D.C., June 14, 2002.
The Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) continued its envelope expansion flight test program last week, at the NAVAIR Western Test Range Complex in California. http://uav.navair.navy.mil/vtuav/
US Navy Photo
The production representative Fire Scout air vehicle flew autonomously for 26 minutes traveling through 21 waypoints as planned. The intent of the mission was to expand the flight envelope, establish guidance, navigation and control processes, and obtain air vehicle low altitude/low speed performance data.
After a successful engine start and flight power commands, the flight began with execution of a launch command from the Air Vehicle Operator (AVO). The Fire Scout climbed vertically to 30 feet and continued to climb while transitioning to forward flight. At the end of the airfield, it transitioned from the launch mode to flight mode and proceeded to execute a pre-planned waypoint flight profile. Waypoint execution included climbs, descents, airspeed changes and left and right course changes. The entire mission, from launch to landing, was programmed for autonomous execution with command override capability, which was successfully demonstrated through a 'go to waypoint' command executed by the AVO between waypoints 5 and 6. The maximum programmed altitude was approximately 1,500 feet above ground level with a maximum programmed airspeed of 30 knots. Following the successful flight, Fire Scout returned to the recovery point, hovered at 30 feet, and landed without incident after authorization from the AVO.
The test flight used a production representative Fire Scout air vehicle owned by Northrop Grumman Corporation, which is being used for envelope expansion flight tests and demonstrations. Additional flight tests are planned for the summer and continuing into 2003. The Fire Scout air vehicle is a derivative of the Schweizer Aircraft Corporation model 330 helicopter.
Fire Scout system has been designed to provide situational awareness and precision targeting support for the Navy and Marine Corps, to be a fully autonomous UAV requiring limited operator intervention, and to be controlled by the Joint Tactical Control System. The system is under development by Northrop Grumman Corporation - Ryan Aeronautical Center and is managed by the Naval Air System Command's UAV program office, PMA-263.