An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the side of Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) after taking off from the ship around 3:40 p.m., April 26.
No one was injured, and the Littoral Combat Ship continued to safely operate after the incident involving the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV).
The Fire Scout – 31.7 feet long and nearly 10 feet tall – fell into the sea and was not recovered. The mishap damaged a safety net on the ship and struck the hull. Damage to the ship is being assessed, but appears limited to an area above the waterline. Charleston continues operations in the Western Pacific.
The cause of the mishap is under investigation.
The Fire Scout was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 based out of Naval Air Station North Island and was assigned to Charleston as part of its current mission.
Charleston began its maiden deployment earlier this month with the Gold Crew aboard, conducting a live-fire event in early April that included a Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM) launch. The training event was overseen by Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), and shortly after completion of the SMWDC training the ship left San Diego. A Navy official told USNI News Charleston was operating on its way to Guam when the mishap with the Fire Scout occurred.
Photo: Sailors charge the battery of an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18). Charleston is currently operating in U.S. Third Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam Butler)
Source: US Navy
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