Northrop Grumman has received a $262 million U.S. Navy contract for development and initial production of the improved MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aircraft, based on the Bell 407 light commercial helicopter. The extended-endurance, higher-payload MQ-8C is scheduled to be deployed in 2014 under a rapid-development program. Carrying the same 170-lb. electro-optical/infrared payload as the B model, the C version is expected to have an endurance of 12 hr. compared with 8 hr. for the B. The C ...

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