MQ-8C extended-endurance Fire Scout unmanned helicopter caught “on the road” in California

An MQ-8C Fire Scout was spotted on a trailer on I-405 Northbound at Newport Beach, California

The MQ-8C Fire Scout is a Bell 407 helicopter modified with autonomous controls from the MQ-8B drone copter.

It weighs 2.7 tons, has a 1,000 lb payload, can fly for 24 hours and can carry AGM-176 Griffin missiles, APKWS II guided 70 mm rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

It first flew in October 2013 and the first two unmanned choppers currently involved in flight testing have already surpassed 100 flight hours.

The Navy plans to operate 28 MQ-8Cs for naval special operations forces. One of those (188688) was seen on a trailer moving northbound on Interstate 405 near Newport Beach, California.


MQ-8C on the road

Image credit: “Spencer”


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I assure you, it’s real. That 24 hour endurance number doesn’t sound right to me either. If this has the same engine and weighs around the same as a 407 the fuel to fly for 24 hours would weight too much and the whole thing would have to be a fuel tank. If the whole thing is composite and uses a way more fuel efficient engine (less power, maybe hybrid) then I guess it could be possible. I’ll do some more research and see what I can figure out.

  2. The box on the truck that says “model weapons” is a good indication this is just a full size model, not a production unit.

  3. Thats funny. Lol. Thats not a real one. Look at the engine cowl. No engine and you can see the bottom of the exhaust stack. That is the display model. I know this cause i built this. I guess i did a good job if the fake got this reaction. Loved reading it tho.

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