SAN DIEGO, Feb. 23, 2009 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) program moves closer to Operational Evaluation (OpEval) with a recent U.S. Navy modification award to a previous firm fixed-price contract for the procurement of three VTUAV systems. This award, for an amount not to exceed $40 million, is the last of three planned low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys.
The Navy authorized an LRIP 1 contract to Northrop Grumman for the Fire Scout VTUAV program in June 2007. The program achieved a series of program milestones and the Navy awarded an LRIP 2 contract in September 2008. Under this LRIP 3 contract, the company will provide the Navy with three complete MQ-8B Fire Scouts with electro-optical payloads, three ground control stations, three light harpoon grids, three UAV common automatic recovery systems and six portable electronic display devices. Work is expected to be completed in March 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
"Completing the LRIP 3 requirements will put the Fire Scout program one step closer to achieving Initial Operating Capability and supporting expansion of the Fire Scout program to both Littoral Combat Ships and other surface combatants," said Doug Fronius, MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV program director for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
The Navy plans to conduct Technical Evaluation of the Fire Scout program in early 2009. OpEval is scheduled for later in the year. The Fire Scout program will reach Initial Operating Capability soon after OpEval in 2009.
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