Singapore Air Show

Osprey Radar Goes to Sea Aboard the Fire Scout

 - February 15, 2022, 2:52 AM
The Osprey 30 radar is being retrofitted to the U.S. Navy’s 38 MQ-8Cs to provide extended-range surveillance capabilities. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

The first Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout uncrewed platform—based on the Bell 407 helicopter and outfitted with Leonardo’s Osprey 30 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar—deployed operationally in December. The sensor, designated AN/ZPY-8 in U.S. service, first went to sea with the MQ-8Cs of HSC-22’s Detachment 5 aboard USS Milwaukee.

Leonardo designed the Osprey as a multi-array radar that offers multi-domain surveillance capability, with applications for crewed or uncrewed, fixed- and rotary-wing platforms. The radar systems can be configured with two to four antenna arrays, depending on the desired azimuth coverage requirements.

Currently, the Osprey flies with 12 international operators across a range of missions, from defense applications to security, civil protection, environmental monitoring, and search and rescue. The company is displaying the radar at the Singapore show (Stand B-H39), and reports that a number of countries in the Indo-Pacific region are evaluating it. The recent U.S. Navy deployment of the sensor has underlined its value to rotary-wing platforms.

For the time being, the Osprey family consists of the Osprey 30 and the more powerful Osprey 50 with larger aperture arrays. Applications for the larger system include the four Gulfstream G550 multi-sensor ISR platforms—locally designated MC-55A Peregrine—being procured by Australia.