HSC-22 Receives First MQ-8C Firescout

HSC-22 Receives First MQ-8C Firescout 25 September, 2020



US Navy, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 received their first MQ-8C Firescout on Sept. 15 aboard Naval Station Norfolk. 
HSC-22 marks the first East Coast squadron to operate all three systems to include the MH-60S Knighthawk, MQ-8B Firescout, and MQ-8C Firescout. The newly added capability of the MQ-8C combines the capabilities of the MQ-8B with the MH-60S Knighthawk to improve the Navy’s ability to investigate and target hostile surface contacts.
MQ-8B and C Firescout variants are designed for suitably equipped ship-based and land-based autonomous systems. MQ-8B and C Firescout/MH-60S extend Naval Aviation’s capability to support distributed maritime operations providing integrated, over-the-horizon intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting, and combat logistics support.
While the majority of the flight software in the MQ-8C Firescout is similar to the MQ-8B Firescout variant, the aircrews must adapt to the new capabilities of upgraded unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to include obtaining additional qualifications required for the maintenance team.

USN spokesperson Commander Jennifer Cragg said on 23 September that HSC-22 will eventually take delivery of five MQ-8C aircraft during the next 18 months. The navy, she said, will retain the MQ-8Bs and MQ-8Cs at assigned Helicopter Sea Combat Squadrons. Cmdr Cragg said the MQ-8Bs will be modified to perform an airborne mine countermeasures mission.



Issue 86