Northrop Grumman gets $55m to deliver additional five MQ-8C Fire Scouts

An MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter sits on the deck of Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) in April 2017. Photo: US Navy

The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $55 million contract to deliver an additional five Fire Scout MQ-8C unmanned air systems and two lightweight fuel cells.

The company is expected to complete work on the contract by August 2021.

The MQ-8C is the larger of two Fire Scout variants delivered by Northrop Grumman. The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s airframe is based on the commercial Bell 407 helicopter.

Fire Scout complements the manned MH-60 helicopter by extending the range and endurance of ship-based operations. It provides situational awareness and precision target support for the Navy with its ability to detect, identify, track, and potentially engage threats at extended ranges while supporting maritime requirements across the range of military operations.

The MQ-8C has and endurance of 8 hours on station, a range of 150 nautical miles and a payload capability of 700 pounds.

The MQ-8C completed developmental testing aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) in 2018 after the first ship-based flight occurred aboard USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) in December 2014.

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