An MQ-8 Fire Scout was spotted on a trailer on I-405 at Newport Beach, California
Few months ago we published an image of an MQ-8C Fire Scout, the UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) obtained by giving autonomous controls to a Bell 407 helicopter, on a trailer moving northbound on Interstate 405 near Newport Beach, California.
Whilst some readers suggested the aircraft was a model/mock-up, others were pretty certain the MQ-8C was one of the 28 such drones the Navy plans to operate in support of naval special operations forces.
Interestingly, the same reader who had taken the photograph of the MQ-8C was able to get a shot of an MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV), a smaller “Fire Scout” drone copter capable to autonomously take-off and land from any aviation-capable warship and at unprepared landing zones and to find, identify, track and illuminate targets and to provide targeting data to other strike platform as well as perform BDA (Battle Damage Assessment).
The tiny drone was used during the air war in Libya; one MQ-8B drone copter was shot down during an ISR mission in support of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.
Anyway, the new image of an (uncovered) MQ-8B on a trailer seems to prove this is Northrop Grumman’s standard way to move its unmanned aircraft. At least Sikorsky uses a protective cover when moving helicopters on a trailer….
Image credit: “Spencer”
Good thing the 405 is basically a parking lot most days so there wouldn’t be much road damage.