The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on biofuel. The unmanned helicopter became the Navy's first UAV to use biofuel technology when it took-off on Friday over Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Maryland, running on a blend of JP-5 aviation fuel and plant-based camelina. The Navy says that the use of this blend cuts carbon dioxide output by 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.
"Today's flight marks a significant milestone with Fire Scout being the Navy's first unmanned aircraft to use biofuel technology," said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.
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The Fire Scout flight is part of a broader push by the Navy towards increasing energy independence and clean energy economy. In total seven aircraft have been tested using biofuels including the supersonic F/A-18 Super Hornet.
"I am very pleased we can add MQ-8B to the list of successful bioflights completed at Pax River this year, bringing us one step closer to achieving the Navy's energy goals."
Designed to operate from all air capable ships, the autonomous take off and landing capabilities of the Northrop Grumman-manufactured Fire Scout are already in use at sea and the system is currently providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support in its first-land based deployment.
The video below shows the Fire Scout's first biofuel flight.
Source: US Navy