Business

April 7, 2014

Northrop Grumman to build five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts for U.S. Navy

A MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter sits at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, Calif., where flight testing of the system is conducted.

Northrop Grumman will build five additional U.S. Navy MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters, which allow ship commanders to extend their intelligence-gathering capabilities far beyond the horizon.

Final assembly of the aircraft will take place at the company’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. The MQ-8C is based on a larger helicopter airframe that provides greater range, endurance and payload capacity over the currently fielded MQ-8B Fire Scout variant.

“Land-based flight tests of the system are progressing well and we’re working with the Navy to conduct our first ship-based flights this summer,” said George Vardoulakis, vice president, medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman. “We expect the MQ-8C Fire Scout will be ready for operations by year end.”

The MQ-8C can remain on station for more than eight hours and supporting long-duration missions, thus requiring less aircraft to sustain operations.

A total of 19 aircraft are under contract with the Navy.

Fire Scout uses on-board sensors to capture full-motion video, identify targets and distribute information in real time to various users. This allows ship-based commanders to maintain awareness of a specified area or keep an eye on a target of interest for long periods of time.\




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