An MQ-8C Fire Scout, taking off. (Navy)
The second MQ-8C Fire Scout has made its first flight. The unmanned helicopter took to the air October 31 from Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif.
There have been 41 flights totaling 66 hours since then, according to a Northrop Grumman news release. "The addition of the second MQ-8C means we can begin testing on more components and equipment needed to operate the system as an intelligence-gathering platform," said George Vardoulakis, the company's vice president for medium range tactical systems. "This includes installing and conducting tests on the full sensor suite."
The MQ-8C has more endurance and can carry a larger payload than earlier versions of the UAV.