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Northrop Outfitting First Sea-Based Unmanned System to Carry Weapons

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) has begun outfitting U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopters to be armed with weapons systems.

The work falls under a $17 million contract awarded to the company Sept. 23 by Naval Air Systems Command.

By implementing the Advanced Precision Kill weapons system laser-guided 70mm rocket into helicopters, ship commanders will be able to identify and engage hostile targets without needing to call in additional support.

will mark the first sea-based unmanned system to carry weapons. The project is expected to be complete by March 2013.

“By arming Fire Scout, the Navy will have a system that can locate and prosecute targets of interest, ” said George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for tactical unmanned systems. “This capability shortens the kill chain and lessens the need to put our soldiers in harm’s way.”

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