By Andy Choi
Northrop Grumman has been selected by the U.S. Navy to construct the advanced Fire Scout unmanned helicopter based on Bell 407 airframe. The new upgrade will benefit ship commander's intelligence efforts by providing enhanced range, endurance and payload capacity.
The U.S. Department of Defense news release dated April 23 stated that the company will construct eight Fire Scouts, totally within a cost of $262 M. As part of rapid development effort, the Navy will procure 28 aircraft. ‘MQ-8C’ is the name given for the new Fire Scout endurance upgrade.
According to VP and General Manager for unmanned systems, Duke Dufresne, the mature unmanned systems architecture, which enables the combined efficiency of the MQ-8B Fire Scout with the Bell 407 helicopter, has been demonstrated by the Northrop Grumman’s own Fire-X demonstration effort. Besides having maximum potential, the new upgrade is also cost-effective and convenient for use. By developing and implementing highly-developed systems, Navy's requirements can be solved more rapidly.
Northrop Grumman is the key contractor for the MQ-8C program. The new variant will have major suppliers such as Rolls Royce and Bell Helicopter.
Moss Point-based Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Center will complete the final assembly of the Fire Scout variant.
Northrop Grumman is a global security company that offers innovative systems, solutions and products in information systems, aerospace, electronics, and technical services to the government and global commercial customers.