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).