The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman plan to carry out the first set of ship-based flights of the MQ-8C Fire Scout this summer, said George Vardoulakis, Northrop vice president of medium range tactical systems.
“Land-based flight tests of the system are progressing well and… We expect the MQ-8C Fire Scout will be ready for operations by year end,” Vardoulakis said Monday.
Northrop said it has been awarded a contract to build five MQ-8C Fire Scout variants and the company is contracted to build 19 total helicopters.
Fire Scouts work to use on-board sensors for capturing full-motion video, identifying targets and distributing information in real time to users.
The company builds the helicopters to help ship-based commanders maintain awareness over a specified area or monitor a target of interest for long periods of time.