May 19, 2022
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. The US Navy is developing a new mine countermeasure (MCM) sensor suite for the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter that will enable the unmanned aerial system (UAS) to find and localize mines and obstacles on land and at sea.
In February 2022, a Navy test squadron conducted flight tests with the MQ-8C using models mimicking the size and weight of the Single System Multi-Mission Airborne Mine Detection (SMAMD) Future Naval Capability Program; the testing is expected to continue this spring with a land-based demonstration of the MCM prototype aimed at detecting drifting mines and moored mines both in shallow water and deep water up to 10 kilometers offshore with the goal of gathering performance data for both the MQ- 8C Fire Scout and SMAMD to inform future integration efforts.
The Navy hopes that these tests will prove that a podded MCM system can operate as intended on the MQ-8C without causing adverse effects on the UAS or significantly diminishing time on station.