Defense Technology leader Northrop Grumman Corporation is shopping its new MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned rotorcraft around Asian countries, looking for potential buyers.
Thanks to a successful spell with United States Navy Littoral Combat Ships, numerous Asian countries have expressed their interest in the chopper. Representatives from overseas have visited to check out the B- and C- models available.
“We’re being pulled in some cases, when our allies hear about our success with the domestic program, to talk about the capabilities and what it could bring to their national security interests,”
said Flory Ellis, director of Asia Pacific Fire Scout for Northrop.
“In other cases we had an opportunity to go out there and educate customers on the capabilities of the system. We have the benefit of having a couple of different platforms that can be tailored to different countries’ requirements.”
As of right now, only the one with surveillance capabilities will be available for sale to foreign countries. The weaponized one is only for the United States forces. The success of this helicopter has inspired them to create an even greater model, the MQ-8C. This one is still in the testing phase, and will go through a qualifying test at the end of the year aboard one of the Littoral Combat Ships. Expected developments for the future include a neat little thing called the Kill Weapon System.
“We completed the operational assessment at Point Mugu in November 2015; we’re working with the navy right now and we’re ready for the operational assessment on LCS – we’re just working to try and identify a ship for that,” says Tom Twomey, senior manager for business development for Fire Scout.
The aircraft is loosely based on the Bell 407 and Schweizer 333 helicopter, depending on the model.
Subscribe to our Newsletter and stay tuned.