Fire Scout payload protection to be enhanced
Northrop Grumman will protect the payload onboard the next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with a protective cage to store and shield critical electronic components during flight. The company has received the first cage from Summit Aviation, which was selected during 2012 to manufacture the protective enclosure, known as a Faraday cage.
The cage will ensure that strong electric fields and electromagnetic interference do not compromise the aircraft’s electric components.
Once completed by Summit Aviation, the remaining Faraday cages will be shipped to Northrop Grumman for incorporation and testing prior to installation on the MQ-8C airframe.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the US Navy's Fire Scout programme. A total of 28 new MQ-8C Endurance upgrade Fire Scouts will be built using a purpose-modified Bell 407 air vehicle.
George Vardoulakis, vice president for tactical unmanned systems with Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector, said: ‘Adding the Faraday cage to Fire Scout will provide the navy with improved accessibility and maintainability by centrally locating key critical avionics components and protect them from outside electrical interference.’
The larger MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade Fire Scout will provide the navy with increased range by more than one-third, more than double the endurance and increased payload capacity in comparison to the current MQ-8B variant capability.
Fire Scout, MQ-8B, is currently deployed on US Navy frigates and in Afghanistan providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to maritime and ground commanders.
More from Defence Helicopter
Royal Navy helicopter crews transfer control of UAS in European first
Using technology supplied by QinetiQ, two Royal Navy helicopter crews successfully exchanged control of a UAS while in flight.
Leonardo wins Canadian helicopter upgrade programme
The upgrade contract will ensure that the Candian helicopters are compliant with future technological requirements.
Guatemala receives Bell Subaru helicopters
The latest version of the Bell 412 helicopter has improved performance and weight capacity and will support Guatemala in various missions.
Algeria expresses interest in AW249 while AW139 deal remains in limbo
Leonardo and Algeria hope to seal the AW139 deal in 2023 while Italy and the North African country further strengthen defence ties.
Nigeria to receive new attack helicopters
The Nigerian Air Force is to receive more than 50 attack air assets to strengthen its ability to fight insecurity within its borders.
Royal Navy upgrades Merlin helicopters
The Royal Navy's amphibious helicopters have received an improved defensive aid suit and Merlin pilots can now train in a synthetic training environment.