Introduction: The Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout is an unmanned autonomous helicopter developed for use by the United States Armed Forces. The Fire Scout is designed to provide reconnaissance, situational awareness, aerial fire support and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces. The initial RQ-8A version was based on the Schweizer 330, while the enhanced MQ-8B was derived from the Schweizer 333.
The MQ-8B features a four-blade main rotor, in contrast to the larger-diameter three-blade rotor of the RQ-8A. This rotor configuration is designed to reduce noise and improve lift capacity and performance. The MQ-8B is fitted with stub wings which serve both an aerodynamic purpose as well as an armament carriage location. Weapons to be carried include Hellfire missiles, Viper Strike laser-guided glide weapons, pods carrying the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, and a laser-guided 70 mm folding-fin rockets.
As of 2014, the U.S. Navy had deployed 24 MQ-8B Fire Scouts with plans to acquire up to 96 additional MQ-8B/C Fire Scouts. MQ-8B Fire Scout systems are deployed from Guided Missile Frigates and Littoral Combat Ships. With endurance greater than five hours, a system equipped with three MQ-8B Fire Scouts is capable of 12 continuous hours of operations providing coverage 110 nautical miles from the launch site.
What’s in the Box: The kit provides parts for two complete MQ-8B Fire Scouts in different configurations. The kit contains four sprues of grey plastic, two clear sprues, a small photo fret, two decal sheets and an instruction booklet. TAKOM utilizes slide molding on a number of parts with their details being very crisp and flash free.
There are two A sprues which contain the parts to construct the fuselage and landing skids.
There are two B sprues which contain the parts to detail each fuselage and rotor blades.
There are two C sprues which contain the heads for the AN/ZPY-4(V)1 radar system and navigation lights.
The Photo-Etch fret contains antennas and other small detail parts.
The two Decal Sheet contains the marking for four U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scouts.
TAKOM provides a comprehensive booklet which is commonplace for their models. This booklet provides the marking schemes for four U.S. Navy Fire Scouts.
Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout (militaryfactory.com)
Northrop Grumman's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter passes 5,000 flight hours - JEC Group (jeccomposites.com)
MQ-8B Fire Scout (navaldrones.com)
Conclusion: I’ve not built an aircraft model in almost 30 years, so I jumped at the chance to build something which I think might be a bit different than an armored vehicle. This kit provides two MQ-8B Fire Scouts with different forward fuselage configurations. I suspect due to different avionics or radar packages.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders pending a full build. .
Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Mike Petty, AMPS Central Virginia
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