Meet The Navy's Newest Autonomous Helicopter Aboard A Stealth Combat Ship

The MQ-8C airframe is based on the Bell 407, while avionics, electrical systems, and sensors were integrated into the aircraft — originally developed for the MQ-8B Fire Scout. The helicopter first flew in October 2013 and had since completed four years of testing.

The first ship-based flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout occurred aboard USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, in December 2014. Video: MQ-8C Fire Scout Takes First Flight on USS Jason Dunham:

While sailors are excited about this new autonomous technology, this could be problematic for helicopter pilots who not too long ago, were flying these machines. The next phase of automation and advances in robotics will create dramatic shifts in the transportation wing of the military.

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Karen Harris, Managing Director of Bain & Company’s Macro Trends Group, describes the coming shift of automation impact on employment from 2015 to 2030:

“The next phase of automation, based on machine learning, artificial intelligence and advances in robotics, will affect 80% of workers through wage suppression and job loss. If automation rolls out slowly, workers who lose their jobs will have more time to adjust, retrain or retire out of the workforce. Given the quickening pace of technological adoption over the past half century, however, rapid adoption is more likely.”

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