Operational missions for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, the Navy's latest unmanned aircraft, seem likely to get under way in 2014. Manufacturer Northrop Grumman says that the new system, based on the Bell 407 helicopter, will have "more than twice the endurance and three times the payload carrying capacity" of the earlier Fire Scout, the MQ-8B, which in its several years of operational testing conducted missions in Afghanistan and in the vicinity of Somalia. Flight tests of the first MQ-8C began in October, a second airframe was delivered to the Navy in November, and Northrop Grumman is set to build a total of 14 under its current contract.
December 27, 2013 3:59 AM PST
Photo by: U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman