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Leonardo-Finmeccanica has been contracted to deliver its Osprey AESA radar for the US Navy’s newly-upgraded unmanned helicopter, the MQ-8C Fire Scout.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout has been designed to take flight from the decks of US Navy ships to scan the sea for distant threats.

It is expected to be fully integrated with both variants of the US Navy’s littoral combat ship in the future.

"The radar uses high-frequency radio waves to facilitate long range viewing at night."

Under the contract, Leonardo will deliver five radars in the first batch to the US Navy’s procurement organisation, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and will be used as a look-out on-board for the unmanned helicopter.

The radars will be sent to undergo testing and evaluation, following which NAVAIR will exercise the option to acquire more sets of radars, to be deployed for operations.

The 2-panel version of the Osprey, selected by the US Navy, will provide a 240° instantaneous field of view and a range of digital modes, including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI).  The radar uses high-frequency radio waves to facilitate long range viewing at night, as well as in poor visibility conditions.

Its E-Scan design allows it to function without have to move parts, or the requirement for a heavy external radome, thereby reducing repair and support costs.

Osprey also provides an open architecture, which will allow the US Navy to install new software independently.

Image: Leonardo’s Osprey radar to be  quipped on US Navy’s unmanned helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo – Finmeccanica – Società per azioni.