Northrop Grumman to Upgrade Fire Scout Unmanned Helicopter for U.S. Navy

Sys­tem Pro­vides Greater Endurance, Range and Pay­load Capac­i­ty
SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Navy has select­ed Northrop Grum­man (NYSE:NOC) to pro­duce the next-gen­er­a­tion Fire Scout unmanned heli­copter using the Bell 407 air­frame. The new vari­ant pro­vides greater range, endurance and pay­load capac­i­ty to ship commander’s intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing efforts.

Accord­ing to a U.S. Depart­ment of Defense news release on con­tract awards released April 23, the com­pa­ny will pro­duce a total of eight Fire Scouts with­in an amount not to exceed $262 mil­lion. The Navy plans to pur­chase a total of 28 air­craft under a rapid devel­op­ment effort.

The Fire Scout endurance upgrade has been des­ig­nat­ed as the MQ-8C.

“Through our com­pa­ny-fund­ed Fire‑X demon­stra­tion effort we proved that using the mature unmanned sys­tems archi­tec­ture devel­oped for the MQ-8B Fire Scout paired with the Bell 407 heli­copter would pro­vide greater capa­bil­i­ty effi­cient­ly and afford­ably,” said Duke Dufresne, vice pres­i­dent and gen­er­al man­ag­er for unmanned sys­tems. “By using sys­tems that have many years of devel­op­ment already invest­ed in them we can meet the Navy’s needs quick­ly.”

Northrop Grum­man is the prime con­trac­tor for the MQ-8C pro­gram. Major sup­pli­ers for new vari­ant include Bell Heli­copter and Rolls Royce.

Final assem­bly of the new Fire Scout vari­ant will be com­plet­ed at Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Sys­tems Cen­ter in Moss Point, Miss.

Northrop Grum­man is a lead­ing glob­al secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny pro­vid­ing inno­v­a­tive sys­tems, prod­ucts and solu­tions in aero­space, elec­tron­ics, infor­ma­tion sys­tems, and tech­ni­cal ser­vices to gov­ern­ment and com­mer­cial cus­tomers world­wide. Please vis­it for more infor­ma­tion.

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