The most advanced vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in the World is the Northrop Grumman RQ-8A (AKA the Fire Scout) and the Fire Scout recently performed its vast capabilities during a two-hour flight demonstration for this year’s Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s North American convention held in Baltimore. The capabilities of the RQ-8A and next generation RQ-8B which will offer greater endurance and payload capabilities, will be critical to the Littoral Combat Ship’s mission to protect and monitor the shoreline, coastal waters and open seas. These will include Fire Scout’s ability to deploy precision-guided munitions and to carry several new payloads for advanced communications, maritime and land-based surveillance, and mine detection.
The Fire Scout is also slated to be part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems.
This reminds me of something I saw on the rear deck of the retired destroyer USS LAFFEY at Patriot’s Point in Charleston:
What is that thing?