Tuesday, 21 June 2011

MQ8B Fire Scout Unmanned Helicopter Shot Down Over Libya


A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (N.A.T.O.) unmanned helicopter appears to have been shot down in Libya*.




Film shown by C.N.N. appears to show the remains of an MQ8B Fire Scout helicopter,a type used by the United States' Navy.


As far as this blog is aware this may be the first unmanned helicopter to be shot down in combat.




If the loss was due to enemy action it is possible that it was the result of the unmanned helicopter having less situational awareness than a manned aircraft and if that is the case there are serious implications for the unmanned helicopter program.




*Thanks to Solomon at SNAFU for highlighting that.

2 comments:

TheRagingTory said...

"If the loss was due to enemy action it is possible that it was the result of the unmanned helicopter having less situational awareness than a manned aircraft and if that is the case there are serious implications for the unmanned helicopter program."

I'm not sure I agree.
Its not ideal, but in reality, we're likely to have far more UAVs than the enemy has advanced SAM sites.

Any sane commander would be more than happy to feed them into enemy defences to get tyhem to reveal themselves.

Admitadly, this was more likely hit by small arms, and is a shame.
But, who's dead? The pilot isnt.
No doubt he'll get a telling off for being silly, but in the long run, its only equipment.

The US loses lots of fixed wing UAVs. They dont leave a TIC situation, EVER.
An F16 has to fly home when its fuels low, no one gives a toss about a reaper.
I'm sure there was a rumour that one kamikazied a Talibn position once.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello TheRaging Tory,

at about £10 Million each,we would run out of Fire Scouts long before the enemy runs out of missiles.

Fixed wing unmanned aircraft can fly fast enough and high enough to avoid a lot of the more common air defence systems,helicopters are far less able to do that.
Unmanned rotary assets also lack the allround situational awareness of a manned platform and as far as I am aware they don't carry the defensive aids suites we see on manned aircraft.

As far as I can see the Fire Scout is a fairly limited platform.
It has longer endurance than a manned helicopter but is also a lot less flexible.

GrandLogistics.