MQ-8C on the flight line prior to testing. Northrop Grumman photo
Northrop Grumman turned on the power to the Navy's first MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and rotated the aircraft's four blades for the first time during initial ground testing and engine runs at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif., Sept. 20. Conducting initial engine runs of the aircraft allows engineers to collect data to ensure that all the aircraft's systems are functioning and communicating properly prior to its first flight. The C model upgrade to the Fire Scout system provides the Navy with more than twice the endurance and three times the payload carrying capacity. Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the Fire Scout program and is currently under contract to produce MQ-8C aircraft for deployment beginning in 2014. (Source: PRNewswire, 09/23/13) Gulf Coast note: Fire Scouts are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.