"Magicians" reborn as Navy's first squadron to operate manned and unmanned aircraft

Maritime strike squadron will fly both the MH-60R Seahawk and the MQ-8B Fire Scout

The Navy’s Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 this week became the first composite expeditionary helicopter squadron to include both manned and unmanned aircraft. HSM-35 will operate both the manned, multi-mission MH-60R Seahawk and the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle.

The squadron, designated the "Magicians," adopted the call sign of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 35, which was decommissioned on Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in 1992 after 19 years of service.

"The reestablishment of this squadron is exceptional as it points toward the future for our Naval Aviation forces," said VADM David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, at the establishment ceremony at NAS North Island, Coronado, CA, as quoted in an article written by Naval Air Forces public affairs office. "The actions today represent a clear line dividing what Naval Aviation once was and what it will be."

The MH-60R is the Navy’s next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, while the Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout provides situation awareness and precision target support. Both aircraft will embark with the shallow-draft Littoral Combat Ship.

The Magicians' first mission, beginning this summer, will be to undergo training and develop guidelines for what will be the Navy's standards of operation for the expeditionary Fire Scout. According to Buss, the procedures set by the Magicians will chart the course for Naval aviation's operating future.

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