Oct 30, 2013
MQ-8C First Flight this week
MQ-8C is an RDC effort in response to an urgent request to provide maritime based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) at extended ranges from host ships in less than 24 months. First flight is set to occur this month, 18 months after the contract award to prime integrator, Northrop- Grumman.
Leveraging off the existing MQ-8 Fire Scout infrastructure, the C variant provides the Navy with double the endurance and triple the payload capability of its predecessor, allowing for 15+ hours of flight time and over 2,600 lbs. of payload. This increase in capability will allow us the opportunity to put additional weight, perhaps sensors, on the aircraft.
The MQ-8C, is a modified commercial Bell 407 helicopter to include additional fuel capability, upgraded engines and improved reliability to provide increased range and endurance and then integrated the majority of the MQ-8B avionics and payloads onto that air frame.
The MQ-8C will complete ground testing at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu and also be integrated into the Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG) for maritime assessment.