PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 30 Dec. 2012. U.S. Navy officials have issued an urgent order to equip the service's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with the Telephonics Corp. RDR-1700 maritime-surveillance radar system.
The Northrop Grumman Corp. MQ-8 Fire Scout is a rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deployed on Navy frigates, littoral combat ships, and other surface combatants for reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., awarded the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in San Diego a $33.3 million contract earlier this month to install the Telephonics RDR-1700 maritime-surveillance radar on nine Fire Scout UAVs.
Navy officials say they want the quick-turnaround contract completed within one year. The hurry-up order comes from the chief of naval operations under terms of an urgent operational needs statement (UONS), as part of a rapid-deployment capability (RDC) radar program for the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
The radar system for the Fire Scout consists of the Telephonics RDR-1700 radar system, modified MQ-8B radome, and interfaces into the helicopter UAV and its control station.
Northrop Grumman is the original manufacturer of the Fire Scout, and is the only source able to integrate a complex radar payload into the existing Fire Scout unmanned helicopter within the required time, Navy officials say.
Northrop Grumman designed the key interfaces to integrate the radar on the Fire Scout, which will require modifications to the Fire Scout payload interface unit software. Northrop Grumman owns the data rights to the Fire Scout's data link control processor software, which must be modified as part of this project, officials say.
The Fire Scout is a version of the Schweizer 333 turbine-powered manned helicopter from Schweizer Aircraft Corp. in Horseheads, N.Y., which is a Sikorsky Aircraft company.
The Telephonics RDR-1700 search, surveillance, and weather-avoidance radar system is for airborne search and surveillance while secondary roles include terrain mapping, weather avoidance, and beacon navigation. Telephonics Corp. is based in Farmingdale, N.Y.
The RDR-1700 is a lightweight, X-band digital color radar system that functions as a 360-degree belly-mount or 120-degree nose-mount scanning sensor. The system has three line-replaceable units -- the antenna/pedestal, receiver-transmitter, and interface unit.
The RDR-1700 offers standard display modes including aircraft heading reference, north-oriented and ground reference, and has target-marker capability that enables the operator to determine range and bearing of a target from the UAV and between targets.
System capabilities include: long-range navigation position update, and target position transmission. The 20 target track-while-scan processor provides location latitude and longitude, target heading, and velocity.
For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.as.northropgrumman.com, the Telephonics Corp. Radar Systems Division at www.telephonics.com/radar, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.