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11:04 AM, April 8, 2014
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US Navy To Acquire Five Additional MQ-8C Fire Scout UAVs

Northrop Grumman will build five additional U.S. Navy MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters, which allow ship commanders to extend their intelligence-gathering capabilities far beyond the horizon.

Final assembly of the aircraft will take place at the company's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. The MQ-8C is based on a larger helicopter airframe that provides greater range, endurance and payload capacity over the currently fielded MQ-8B Fire Scout variant.

"Land-based flight tests of the system are progressing well and we're working with the Navy to conduct our first ship-based flights this summer," said George Vardoulakis, vice president, medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman. "We expect the MQ-8C Fire Scout will be ready for operations by year end."

The MQ-8C can remain on station for more than eight hours and supporting long-duration missions, thus requiring less aircraft to sustain operations.

A total of 19 aircraft are under contract with the Navy.

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