Northrop focuses on improved avionics protection for Fire Scout MQ-8C

Northrop Grumman has received the first protective cage that it will use on the MQ-8C variant of its Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to furnish improved protection for the aircraft's critical electronic components from strong electric fields and electromagnetic waves, the company said Jan. 29.

The Falls Church, Va.-based contractor selected Summit Aviation in 2012 to supply the enclosure known as a Faraday cage. Northrop Grumman is under contract with the Navy to provide 28 new MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade Fire Scouts that will be built using a modified Bell 407 airship.

The balance of the Faraday cages will be shipped to Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., where the electronics will be assembled, incorporated and tested before being installed on the MQ-8C airframe.

The larger MQ-8C Fire Scout will give the Navy one-third greater range and 50 percent greater payload capacity than the MQ-8B. The MQ-8B is deployed on Navy frigates and in Afghanistan as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform for the Navy and the Marines. 

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