Northrop Grum­man de­liv­ers first op­er­a­tional MQ-8C Fire Scout to US Navy

SP's MAI - - UNMANNED UPDATES -

Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion has de­liv­ered the first op­er­a­tional MQ-8C Fire Scout un­manned he­li­copter to the US Navy. The sys­tem will be used by ship-based com­man­ders to im­prove the Navy’s in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The MQ-8C is an up­graded ver­sion of the ex­ist­ing MQ-8B Fire Scout us­ing a larger air­frame. It can fly nearly twice as long and carry three times more in­tel­li­gence, surveil­lance and re­con­nais­sance pay­loads.

“The test pro­gramme will run through the sum­mer as we ex­pect th­ese air­craft to be ready for op­er­a­tions by year’s end,” said George Var­doulakis, Vice Pres­i­dent for medium range tac­ti­cal sys­tems with Northrop Grum­man.

The MQ-8C’s first ship-board flight tests aboard the USS Ja­son Dun­ham (DDG 109) will be con­ducted this win­ter. The Navy will then as­sess the sys­tem for op­er­a­tional use.

Northrop Grum­man is un­der con­tract to build 19 MQ-8C Fire Scouts, in­clud­ing two test air­craft. The Navy plans to pur­chase 70 air­craft to­tal.

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