Navy orders two more Fire Scout helicopter UAVs

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 1 July 2005. U.S. Navy leaders are ordering two more Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial helicopters for shipboard and land-based surveillance applications.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 1 July 2005. U.S. Navy leaders are ordering two more Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial helicopters for shipboard and land-based surveillance applications.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems in San Diego is building the Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under terms of a $15.2 million contract awarded June 30 from Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. The contract number is N00019-00-C-0277.

The contract includes payloads for the unmanned helicopter, as well as non-recurring engineering services.

The Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical UAV provides situation awareness and precision targeting Marine Corps and Navy forces It can operate from any aviation-capable warship and at unprepared landing zones.

The system comes with ground-control stations that encompass the Navy's Tactical Control System (TCS), Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL), communications, and plug-and-play modular payload capability.

The Fire Scout can fly at speeds as fast as 125 knots at altitudes as high as 20,000 feet, and fly for as long as eight hours without refueling.

The UAV can loiter areas of interest for more than four hours, provides coverage at 110 nautical miles from the launch site, and carries payloads of optoelectronic and infrared sensors and laser rangefinder/designator.

The Fire Scout can find and identify targets, track and designate targets, provide targeting data to strike forces, employ precision weapons, and perform battle damage assessment. The UAV can act as a communications node with its three ARC-210 radios.

Work on the contract will be in Elmira, N.Y.; San Diego; and Mosspoint, Miss., and will be finished in August 2008.

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