Fire Scouts in theater outshine test performances

Navy plans to buy 168 additional robotic helicopters

Just weeks after findings in a June report by the Pentagon's Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) cited the MQ-8B Fire Scout robotic helicopter’s data links as fragile and claimed more than 50 percent of its missions had failed, the Navy says the drones have performed well, with more than 1,000 hours in theater, reports Defense News.

In April and May two Fire Scout systems – a total of six of the unmanned aerial vehicles and their control units – were deployed by request to Afghanistan, while an additional Fire Scout system, which included two drones, was sent to the USS Halyburton in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea and Horn of Africa.

Though the drones are still in the testing phase and not slated to be operationally effective until 2013, according to the news article, the Navy has said it plans to purchase up to 168 Fire Scouts to use in conjunction with its ships.

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