Navy orders more Fire Scout unmanned helicopters from Northrop Grumman
SAN DIEGO. Northrop Grumman won a U.S. Navy contract valued at more than $71 million to build six more next-generation Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. The Fire Scout endurance upgrade, dubbed the MQ-8C and based on Bell Helicopter's 407, will enable ship commanders to have greater range, endurance, and payload capacity over the current Fire Scout MQ-8B variant.
The Navy is expected to procure a total of 30 aircraft under a rapid development effort. Northrop Grumman is currently under a contract to produce 14 Fire Scouts, which are expected to begin deploying next year. The new Fire Scout variant will have airframe modifications made at a Bell facility in Ozark, AL, while final assembly will be completed at Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, MS.