9.12.2019

Radar upgrade contract for the MQ-8C

Radar upgrade contract for the MQ-8C – link

Source: Defense.Gov

Article Headlines

  • Northrop Grumman is awarded a $9,140,087 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (N00019-20-F-0457) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-15-G-0026) in support of the MQ-8C Firescout unmanned aircraft system
  • This order is for the production and delivery of eight AN/ZPY-8 radar modification kits, eight forward access panel modification kits and all associated non-recurring engineering and qualification efforts in support of mission processor unit upgrades

Overview & Comments

  • The US Navy declared IOC for the MQ-8C in June 2019, six years after flight trials commenced in 2013
  • With 38 MQ-8Cs planned for the US Navy, the platform is currently the largest operational unmanned rotary aircraft with other competitors trailing behind
  • Airbus’ VSR700 just recently completed its first fully unmanned flight while tethered to the ground and Leonardo’s SW-4 operating in optionally piloted mode
  • As UAS maritime operations grow and additional operational experience will be gained by the system more navies will be interested in larger rotary systems such as the MQ-8C to fill a current operational gap that cannot be closed by smaller systems such as Scheibel’s S-100 or fixed-wing maritime based UAS such as the RQ-21
  • One such Navy is the Japanese who has openly sought information for possible acquisition back in 2016

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