Home » Aviation » Northrop Grumman Awarded $108M Contract for 10 MQ-8C Fire Scouts

Northrop Grumman Awarded $108M Contract for 10 MQ-8C Fire Scouts

MQ-8C Fire Scout returns from a test mission on the Point Mugu Sea Range in Point Mugu, Calif. US Navy Photo

MQ-8C Fire Scout returns from a test mission on the Point Mugu Sea Range in Point Mugu, Calif. US Navy Photo

Naval Air Systems Command awarded Northrop Grumman a $108.1 million contract for ten MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned rotary wing aircraft last week, according to a Pentagon contract announcement.

The MQ-8C follows the Navy’s MQ-8B UAV built around a Bell 407 helicopter that the company started delivering the service in 2013. The larger MQ-8C is set to test at sea next year and could deploy on the Littoral Combat Ship as early as 2018.

The Navy plans to operate the UAV in tandem with the manned MH-60 Seahawk Romeo and Sierra helicopters as part of anti-surface warfare orientation of the Littoral Combat Ship. Seahawk pilots will be cross-trained to operate the Fire Scout.

While the C model is built on a different airframe from the B, the two share a common ground control station and many of the same internal components. As part of its current deployment, LCS USS Coronado (LCS-4) is fielding the B version of the platform with a new common Raytheon ground control station.

Work on the ten UAVs is expected to be completed by 2019, according to the announcement.

The following is the Sept. 9, 2016 contract announcement.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, California, is being issued a $108,118,000 fixed-price, incentive firm target contract for the procurement of 10 Fire Scout MQ-8C unmanned air systems. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (33 percent); Ozark, Alabama (27 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (18 percent); Moss Point, Mississippi (16 percent); and various locations within the U.S. (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2019. Fiscal 2015 and 2016 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $108,118,000 are being obligated at time of award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-16-C-0055).

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Categories: Aviation, Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • Ed L

    Okay, throwing this out there. Would it be able to do a SAR mission. Go in and pick up a down pilot? it has according to the specs, a Max. external (sling load) 2,650 lbs.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    $11m per unit for a remotely controlled Bell 407.

    For the same money they could have bought 3 x Bell 407s!

    • USNVO

      Except you wouldn,t get any of the sensors, UAV controls, or datalinks and they couldn’t fly for 11hrs either. Plus you would pay far more for the pilots to fly them than for the helos themselves.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        Did you ever hear of a helicopter sensor that cost $8m?

        And, note that the UAV will still need pilots.,…… and the USN will even pay them too!

        • USNVO

          When you include;
          1. Purchasing the Helos
          2. Tearing out the systems you don’t need
          3. Installing the VTUAV systems and control/sensor datalinks
          4. Installing the new FLIR/LLTV sensor as well as the radar,
          5. Adding additional fuel tanks and controls for said fuel tank,
          6. Adding corrosion protection where required
          7. Paying for the labor on all of the above at aviation industry rates,
          8. Buying 10 so there is no real benefit from more efficient production rates and purchase quantities,
          yes, yes I have.

          As for pilots, the USN is already paying them now just getting more out of them since they are crosstraining the existing MH-60 pilots to operate the MQ-8C during launch and recovery (similiar to the RAST job on a DDG) and enlisted personnel will fly them around as opposed to say the pilots being in the helo flying around.