Report: Navy Plans MQ-8C Weapons Storage Contract Award to Bell

Jeff Brody

The U.S. Navy plans to award Bell a sole-source contract to equip an unmanned helicopter platform with a storage for weapons payload, FlightGlobal reported Friday.

The service branch is asking Bell to redesign the MQ-8C Fire Scout's aft cabin door after the Textron (NYSE: TXT) subsidiary completed structural analyses and weapons-related studies.

MQ-8C prime contractor Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) aims to produce 38 samples of the unmanned rotorcraft, the report noted.

The Navy's MQ-8C program reached initial operational capability status in July and is scheduled for deployment on Littoral Combat Ships in fiscal 2021.

Northrop based the Fire Scout airframe on the Bell 407 civil utility helicopter as well as integrated the unmanned vehicle's intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and flight control systems.

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