MQ-8C Fire Scout
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
3 December 2014
31 October 2013
Origin: United States of America
Bell Textron, Cubic Corporation, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman*, Rolls-Royce, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Summit Aviation (*) lead contractor
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Description: The Fire Scout VTUAV is a vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle designed to provide unprecedented situation awareness and precision targeting for the US Navy and the USMC. The Fire Scout UAV has the ability to takeoff and land on any helicopter capable ship such as frigates and aircraft carriers as well as any place in the battlefield area supporting the USMC forces.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is an upgraded variant of the MQ-8 unmanned rotorcraft combining the Bell 407 helicopter airframe and the MQ-8B unmanned system architecture. The Fire Scout endurance upgrade, designated the MQ-8C, provides greater endurance, range and payload capacity in support of intelligence-gathering missions. The new variant is a product derived from the Fire-X technological demonstrator. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the MQ-8C program with Bell Helicopter supplying the Bell 407 airframe and Rolls-Royce the Model 250 turboshaft engine. On April 23, 2012, the US Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $262 million contract for eight MQ-8C aircraft. The US Navy plans call for the procurement of 28 rotorcrafts. As of December 2014, the procurement program scope increased to 70 aircraft. The US Navy final procurement program is for 38 aircraft to be delivered by 2021.
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