MQ-8 Fire Scout VTUAV Program: By Land or By Sea
May 9/18: More airframe orders Bell Helicopter will receive a contract modification valued at $21.7 million. The modification relates to a contract that provides the US Navy with airframes in support of its MQ-8 Fire Scout program, including the delivery of Bell 407 variant commercial airframes, as well as associated Bell 407 unique components, and preservation and storage associated with the system. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the newer MQ-8C Fire Scout variant is the latest unmanned autonomous helicopter being developed for the Navy for reconnaissance, aerial fire support and other naval missions. It is larger than its predecessors, using the Bell 407 airframe rather than the Sikorsky 330 and 330 airframes used on previous variants. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the order close to $31.5 million. Work will be performed in Ozark, Alabama, and is expected to be completed in December 2020.
A helicopter UAV is very handy for naval ships, and for armies who can’t always depend on runways. The USA’s RQ/MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has blazed a trail of firsts in this area, but its history is best described as “colorful.” The program was begun by the US Navy, canceled, adopted by the US Army, revived by the Navy, then canceled by the Army. Leaving it back in the hands of the US Navy. Though the Army is thinking about joining again, and the base platform is changing.
The question is, can the MQ-8 leverage its size, first-mover contract opportunity, and “good enough” performance into a secure future with the US Navy – and beyond? DID describes these new VTUAV platforms, clarifies the program’s structure and colorful history, lists all related contracts and events, and offers related research materials.
MQ-8: The Platform
MQ-8B Fire Scout
MQ-8C: Is Bigger Better?
MQ-8: The Program
MQ-8: Past and Future
Fire Scout Contracts & Key Events
FY 2015 – 2018
FY 2005 – 2006
FY 2000 – 2004
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: Fire Scout
News & Views
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)