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Northrop Transports Unmanned Helicopter to Navy for Flight Test; George Vardoulakis Comments

northrop Grumman_BLUENorthrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) has transported an unmanned helicopter to the U.S. Navy for flight tests prior to the helicopter’s planned operations start date of 2014.

Northrop assembled the second MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter at its Moss Point, Miss.-based facility and the helicopter joins its predecessor at Point Mugu, Calif.-based Naval Base Ventura County for the testing, Northrop Grumman said Monday.

MQ-8C Fire Scouts are built to carry intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads, the company says.

George Vardoulakis, vice president for medium range tactical systems at Northrop, said the company used similar development techniques applied to the earlier MQ-8B Fire Scout aircraft for the newest unmanned helicopter.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout will undergo ground and flight tests for payload integration and communications assessment.

Northrop is contracted to build 14 new Fire Scouts and the Navy intends to buy 30 total units.

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