Northrop wins Navy contract for six more unmanned Fire Scouts

The Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $71 million contract to produce six additional Fire Scout MQ-8C unmanned helicopters, the company said March 12.

The Fire Scout endurance upgrade, designated the MQ-8C and based on Bell Helicopter's 407, is designed to give ship commanders increased range, endurance and payload capacity over the current MQ-8B variant, the company said.

The Navy ultimately plans to purchase a total of 30 aircraft under a rapid development effort, the company said. Northrop Grumman is under contract to produce 14 Fire Scouts that are scheduled to begin deploying in 2014.

Airframe modifications for the MQ-8C are being made at Bell's facility in Ozark, Ala., and final assembly for the next-generation unmanned helicopter is being handled at Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.


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