The US Navy has deployed the MQ-8B Fire Scout rotary wing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aboard the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney for ship board operations.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout has been introduced to help the navy’s 4th fleet operating in the South Atlantic on anti-narcotics trafficking missions.

Fire Scout program manager Captain Tim Dunigan said the automated UAS provides unprecedented situational awareness as the fleet employs its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

“The USS McInerney will be critical in developing the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for the fleet to best exploit the war fighting capabilities of the Fire Scout system,” he said.

The Northrop Grumman-built aircraft completed developmental testing to prove its readiness for deployment on USS McInerney and will undergo operational evaluation (OPEVAL) during deployment and full integration in the fleet.

Following the successful OPEVAL and a series of flight tests on the ship, the aircraft will be integrated on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship in support of surface warfare, mine counter measures and anti-submarine warfare missions.