Although already deployed on operations to meet urgent needs, the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned surveillance helicopter has reliability and sustainability problems that have delayed its regular fielding. An updated selected acquisition report (SAR) obtained by InsideDefense.com reveals that both the initial operational capability and the full-rate production decision have been delayed by about two years until May or June 2014.
AEROSPATIALE SA341G, ALPINE, TEXAS, MARCH 6, 2003–At 11:15 a.m. CST Gazelle N16KH was substantially damaged when it crashed during takeoff from a hilltop near Alpine. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Bear Helicopters of El Paso, Texas. The ATP-rated pilot and his three passengers received only minor injuries.