Northrop Grumman has received a new US$262.3 million contract to develop and build a new MQ-8C version of the Firescout unmanned rotorcraft, the U.S. Navy announced Apr 23rd. The aircraft will port all of the avionics and data-links of the existing MQ-8B to the much larger Bell 407 helicopter airframe, says G. Vardoulakis, Northrop's tactical unmanned aircraft chief.
The new airframe will greatly increase the MQ-8's range and endurance-the on-station time will almost triple. The USN contract calls for Northrop to build and test two developmental aircraft over the next 26 months. The company is also contracted to build six low rate production aircraft at the same time. (Source: flightglobal.com / Photo: Northrop Grumman)