Advanced military chopper flies itself

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Fire Scout
Notice how there’s no real window in the front of the helicopter? The pilot-less chopper is almost drone-like in its abilities!

The US Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter is used in many important missions for communication, surveillance, and resupplying troops. Now, the newest MQ-8C model can do all of this, but it doesn’t even need a pilot in the cockpit!

In fact, the MQ-8C is designed to complete missions much quicker than its predecessor. Not only can the Fire Scout carry around 2,650 pounds of precious cargo in its sling, the chopper’s improved engine and fuel tank can handle up to 14 hours of flight from location to location. That’s twice as long as the MQ-8B version!

The US Navy actually tested the new Fire Scout without a pilot on October 31, and it flew for about 7 minutes.

Later on that same day, the MQ-8C launched into the air again and held its own for 9 whole minutes at an elevation of 500 feet. That’s just a fraction of the 17,000-foot height to which it can soar. By next year, the latest Fire Scout is set to become operational.

Images courtesy of Northrop Grumman on YouTube.