An unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter crashed into the side of Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston (LCS-18) after it took off from the vessel on Monday.
No one was injured, and the Navy reported that 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.”
The helicopter fell into the sea after the collision and was not recovered. A safety net was also damaged in the incident. While damage to the ship continues to be assessed, it appears to be limited to an area above the waterline. The Charleston will continue operating in the Western Pacific while the cause of the accident is under investigation.
The 31.7 feet (9.7 meters) by 10 feet-high (3 meters) Fire Scout was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, based out of Naval Air Station North Island, and operated alongside a team of manned-unmanned Fire Scouts and MH-60 helicopters as a part of the LCS surface warfare mission package.