New flight simulators were placed in the
facility to improve the quality of training,
incorporating lessons learned during the MQ-8B
Fire Scout's recent land- and sea-based
Typical training lasts
about six weeks because maintainers and pilots
already gained technical training on manned
helicopters such as the SH-60 Seahawk.
"This is a wonderful capability that bridges a
significant gap in simulator availability," said
Capt. Doug Ten Hoopen, commander, Helicopter
Maritime Strike Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. "As
the Fire Scout program continues to mature and
becomes self-sustainable when the new Fire Scout
Fleet Replacement Squadron is officially stood
up, Atlantic Fleet operators' immediate demand
for simulation and training will be met through
this state-of-the-art facility."
Fire Scout provides ship- and land-based
commanders with critical intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,
using on-board sensors to capture full-motion
video, identify targets and then distribute the
information in real time to various users.
A team of Navy sailors and Northrop Grumman
employees has been deployed to Afghanistan since
May 2011, accruing more than 2,800 flight hours
directly supporting ground commanders with
full-motion video surveillance. Their mission
was extended after ground commanders reported
improved ability to see potential threats.
four Fire Scout at-sea deployments originated
from nearby Naval Station Mayport. The most
recent deployment started in June on board the
USS Klakring (FFG 42).