US Navy orders six more MQ-8C Fire Scout UAVs
Northrop Grumman will supply six additional next-generation Fire Scout unmanned helicopters to the US Navy under a $71 million contract announced on 12 March. The aircraft will be provided in the Fire Scout endurance upgrade configuration, designated the MQ-8C.
According to Northrop Grumman, the navy plans to purchase a total of 30 aircraft under a rapid development effort. Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to produce 14 Fire Scouts that are scheduled to begin deploying in 2014.
Based on Bell Helicopter's 407, the MQ-8C and will provide ship commanders with increased range by more than one-third, more than double the endurance and increased payload capacity than the current MQ-8B variant.
George Vardoulakis, vice president for tactical unmanned systems with Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector, said: ‘This contract provides significant momentum for the work Northrop Grumman and its supply chain partners are doing to meet the navy's requirements Our entire team is focused on delivering this game-changing capability on time, on cost and with unquestionable quality. Along with our industry partners – Bell, Rolls-Royce, Cubic and others – we are making significant progress in reducing cost, enabling us to achieve our affordability targets and provide the navy with the absolute best value.’
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