The U.S. Navy has designated Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor to upgrade its MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The $262-million contact covers an expansion in payload and endurance as well as a greater flight range. The upgraded UAVs will carry the designation MQ-8C. Northrop Grumman plans to produce eight Fire Scouts based on the Bell 407 airframe as part of the agreement, two of which will be used for tactical vertical takeoff and landing maneuverability testing. A total order for 28 of the upgraded UAVs is expected from the Navy. The Navy anticipates completion of the work in May 2014.
Related: Unmanned News
MQ-8B Fire Scout. Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman.