An MQ-8C Fire Scout takes off from Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, Calif. (Navy)
Northrop Grumman has delivered a second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to the Navy.
It joins the first MQ-8C at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., for flight testing before operational missions begin in 2014.
The MQ-8C is a larger, faster version of the MQ-8Bs already flown by the Navy.
The second MQ-8C was built at Northrop Grumman’s unmanned systems center in Moss Point, Miss.
“Since 2006 we have conducted final assembly of the earlier MQ-8B Fire Scout aircraft from our Moss Point facility, so we have a lot of manufacturing experience there,” said George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for medium range tactical systems. “With the MQ-8C variant being assembled there as well, we can use the same expertise and quality processes already developed.”
Including the two test aircraft, 14 new Fire Scouts are currently under contract, with the Navy scheduled to acquire a total of 30.