Monday, May 29, 2023

U.S. Navy orders additional MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters

The U.S. Navy recently awarded Northrop Grumman a contract for five additional MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters.

According to a statement, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., is awarded $55, million for modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification provides for the procurement of five MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air systems and two lightweight fuel cells.

Work is expected to be completed in August 2021.


The ship-based MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter is a next-generation, unmanned air system designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman to support both land and sea-based military operations.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s airframe is based on the commercial Bell 407, a mature helicopter with more than 1,600 airframes produced and over 4.4 million flight hours. Combined with the maturity of Northrop Grumman’s autonomous systems architecture, Fire Scout meets customer requirements for a ship-based and land-based autonomous systems. It also has the ability to autonomously take-off and land on any aviation-capable ship and from prepared and unprepared landing zones. This enhancement significantly increases range and endurance (more than double) and payload capacity (more than triple).

Fire Scout is a combat proven, autonomous helicopter system that provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Target-acquisition (ISR&T), laser designation, and battle management to tactical users without relying on manned aircraft or space-based assets. Fire Scout has the ability operate from any air-capable ship or land base in support persistent ISR&T requirements.

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Executive Editor


Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense adviser and a consultant. He graduated in business management and worked at leading European defense companies before becoming a military journalist. read more