Fire Scout Scores First Drug Bust with McInerney

Story Number: NNS100407-08Release Date: 4/7/2010 3:08:00 PM
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From U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- During a routine test flight, a MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-off and Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) supported its first drug interdiction with USS McInerney (FFG 8) and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (USCG LEDET) Apr. 3.

McInerney launched one of its two embarked Fire Scout's to test different functions and settings when it acquired a suspected narcotics "go-fast" on radar. The Mission Payload Operator completed testing and received permission to pursue.

Over the course of three hours, Fire Scout monitored the go-fast with McInerney. With its state-of-the-art optics and extremely small profile, Fire Scout was able to maintain an unprecedented covert posture while feeding real-time video back to McInerney.

Fire Scout proceeded to capture video of the "go-fast" meeting with a fishing vessel for what appeared to be a refueling/logistics transfer. McInerney and its embarked USCG LEDET moved in and seized approximately 60 kilos of cocaine and caused the suspected traffickers to jettison another approximately 200 kilos of narcotics.

Fire Scout has been deployed onboard McInerney in the Eastern Pacific since October 2009. McInerney, with embarked Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) 42 Detachment 7 (HSL Det 7), is deployed for U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility conducting counter illicit trafficking (CIT) operations in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South. The embarked Fire Scout VTUAVs are operated and maintained by a team from HSL 42 Det 7, the Navy Fire Scout Program Office, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

NAVSO is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all Naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. NAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and CIT operations.

For more information on NAVSO/C4F, visit, on Facebook, or on Twitter at

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit

4/14/2010 4:41:00 PM
Tho I can understand the "former Helo Pilot's" concern over losing seats. Any time you can get 60 Kilo's of Coke off the street and not place Sailors in Harms Way then The Fire Scout has earned this old Master Chiefs respect. What would make this even sweeter is that an enlisted Sailor was flying it! Kudo's to the crew....Well done Shipmates.

4/11/2010 4:35:00 PM
good work! They should use uavs more in the anti - piracy ops in the indian ocean and around thailand.

4/9/2010 8:24:00 AM
This is a great advance in the area of Un-manned Aerial Vehicles. As a former helicopter pilot, it is disappointing to see pilot seats possibly disappearing in the future, but this will certainly decrease human casualty issues should there be a mishap. However, there is no substitute for human eyes on the scene, not via video, to be the decision maker in times of crisis.

4/7/2010 7:41:00 PM
My husband is on that ship! Great Job guys!!

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The Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle MQ-8B Fire Scout hovers over the flight deck of the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG 8).
090508-N-2821G-146 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 8, 2009) The Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle MQ-8B Fire Scout hovers over the flight deck of the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG 8). McInerney is preparing for an upcoming counter-illicit trafficking deployment to Latin America, where the ship is scheduled to use Fire Scout to assist with counter-drug operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg/Released)
June 15, 2009
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