Northrop Grumman powers up MQ-8C Fire Scout
The MQ-8C Fire Scout UAV is inching closer to deployment with the US Navy following initial ground testing and engine runs at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in California on 20 September.
The testing will allow engineers to collect data to ensure that all the aircraft's systems are functioning and communicating properly prior to its first flight.
George Vardoulakis, vice president of medium range tactical systems at Northrop Grumman, said: ‘Completion of these tests signifies our steady progress toward the first flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout. We continue to work closely with our navy customer, ensuring that the Fire Scout system is checked out and ready before operational use.’
This latest aircraft upgrade to the Fire Scout system will provide the US Navy with more than twice the endurance and three times the payload carrying capacity, enabling an unprecedented level of persistent surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance capability.
Northrop Grumman is under contract to produce MQ-8C aircraft for the US Navy with deployment scheduled to begin in 2014. This first upgraded MQ-8C was delivered to the navy in July 2013.
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