India Plans to Buy Fire Scout Through FMS

By admin • July 27th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – The constant rise in homegrown insurgency has led India to send a request via the U.S Embassy for foreign military sale (FMS) clearance of Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff unmanned aerial system (VTUAS).

While the US major Northrop Grumman has made presentations to the Indian Navy and Indian Army in the past, the new-found interest for the Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System (Astamids), which has been demonstrated on Fire Scout, has been the primary reason for India for its acquisition. A letter of request for FMS has been sent to the U.S government.

According to Indian Army, the “Astamids” are undoubtedly the most prolific system to locate mines. The mines, which can be remotely triggered, are embedded four inches below the roads in the insurgency areas of the Indian eastern border.

The algorithms to locate improvised explosive devices through processing “Astamids” imagery will help the paramilitary forces in their counter-insurgency operations. The sensor primarily detects minefields in support of mobile ground forces in day and night conditions. A host of advanced technologies are assimilated in the system to detect surface-emplaced and recently buried patterned mines, as well as randomly scattered mines.

The US has recently conducted Fire Scout flight demonstrations in the United Arab Emirates including missions involving non-line-of-sight operations that showcased Fire Scout’s ability to operate autonomously in remote locations, and its FLIR Systems electro-optical/infrared sensing capabilities used to locate and acquire targets. The flights also demonstrated the vehicle’s real-time imagery-transmission capability.

For India, the Fire Scout M-8B fits the bill in terms of current and future defence scenarios. The MQ-8B Fire Scout is capable of autonomous take off and landing on any aviation warship and at prepared and unprepared landing sites. With its ability to detect, identify, and target tactical threats at sea or ashore, the Fire Scout is the ideal platform to meet India’s rigid surveillance requirements. Fire Scout’s ability to fly multiple payloads such as radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors allows downlink of broad area surveillance and target-specific full motion video to decision makers.

Source: India Defence Online

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