Northrop Grum­man to build five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts for US Navy

SP's MAI - - UNMANNED -

Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion will build five additional US 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 long­du­ra­tion 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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