Case Study: Why MQ-8 Fire Scout Should Move To Point Mugu, California

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MQ-8 Fire Scout Should Move to Point Mugu, California

The United States Navy is moving in the direction of the Chief of Naval Operation’s tenets “Warfighting first, operate forward, and always be ready”. Part of his guiding principles is to fully integrate unmanned systems in the air and water which will employ greater autonomy with manned counterparts within the next 10 to 15 years (CNO’s Sailing Direction, 2011). This vision will provide tremendous improvement to the military’s surveillance and warfighting capabilities and readiness. Although MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program is a step in to the Navy’s future, the maintenance and operation of these assets in San Diego region causes increased manpower and financial requirements. Therefore, MQ-8 Fire Scout assets should move to Point Mugu, California.

Our squadron is one of two commands on the west coast operating the MQ-8 Fire Scout able to deploy on Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). This fiscal year, we received two Fire Scout UAVs and the difficulties of maintaining
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However, the MQ-8 Fire Scout is not permitted to perform flight operations, have limited technical support, and causes logistical constraints in the San Diego region. The Federal Aviation Administration Summary (FAA News, 2016), does not permit flight operations of any unmanned aircraft near major airports limiting our ability to properly maintain UAV assets. Moreover, this rule prevents us from meeting our requirements to perform a flight operation within 30 days in accordance with our technical manual, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific instruction, and Functional Check Flight handbook. If not complied with, it requires us to perform a 30-Day No-fly functional check flight inspection, which involves extra flight time, manpower, man-hours, and
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