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Norfolk squadron receives second variant of unmanned helicopter

HSC-22 is now operating three separate platforms
MQ-8C unmanned helicopter
Posted at 1:27 PM, Sep 17, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Manned or unmanned? It is a distinction you have to make when talking with aviators at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 at Naval Station Norfolk.

This week, HSC-22 received their first MQ-8C Firescout, an unmanned helicopter.

The C variant is larger than the MQ-8B Firescout version which the squadron has already been flying.

"The MQ-8 Charlie is twice as big, twice as strong, twice as fast roughly and it can stay airborne significantly longer and carries more sensors," Commander Matt Wright, HSC-22 Commanding Officer, told News 3 Thursday.

Now with two versions of the Firescout alongside the traditional manned MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters, HSC-22 is the first squadron on the East Coast to operate three separate platforms.

The Navy says the combination of manned and unmanned helicopters is expanding how they can conduct maritime operations and provide support to the fleet.