SAN DIEGO, 7 Feb. 2007. Northrop Grumman Corp. in San Diego won a $16 million U.S. Navy contract Feb. 6 to provide two more MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicles (VTUAVs) and to help the Navy decide how best to use the aircraft.
"With the addition of these two air vehicles, we will be able to complete operational test and evaluation as well as some spiral development preparations and test of future payloads," says Cmdr. Rob Murphy, the Navy's VTUAV Fire Scout program manager.
During concept of operations development, Northrop Grumman will help the Navy to refine the system description, including core capabilities and anticipated deployment and employment for the VTUAV system and other aircraft aboard the littoral combat ship.
Operational requirements may include real-time video imagery collection, intelligence gathering, communications-relay capability, precision targeting and battle damage assessment.
System design work on the Fire Scout is at the Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. The Fire Scout is assembled at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.
Fire Scout is based on a commercial-off-the-shelf Schweizer 333 manned helicopter manufactured in Horseheads, N.Y. The baseline design has proven a highly reliable and effective platform with extensive operating history.