Navy puts new Fire Scout model on fast development track

The Navy has awarded a $262 million contract to Northrop Grumman to develop the first batch of the new MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters designed to have greater range and other improvements beyond the existing MQ-8B model, the company said April 24.

The Navy ultimately plans to purchase as many as 28 of the MQ-8C unmanned helicopters through a rapid development effort, the company said.

Meanwhile, the Navy’s MQ-8B fleet remains grounded while the Navy investigates the cause of two crashes of the MQ-8B that took place in recent months, one of which occurred in northern Afghanistan in support of Marine Corps operations and another that occurred while performing operations for the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson, according to Navy officials.

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