MQ-8C Fire Scouts on the assembly line at Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing center in Moss Point, MS.

Northrop Grumman is set to build 10 additional MQ-8C Fire Scout drone helicopters for the Navy under a new $108 million contract.

The aerospace company, which has extensive operations in Rancho Bernardo, is using a proven Bell 407 helicopter airframe for the sophisticated, ship-based drones. The new contract will bring the Navy’s fleet to 29.

“MQ-8C is meeting all of its performance objectives, and the system is delivering a greater naval warfighting capability,” said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command. “We are looking forward to moving the MQ-8C operational testing and deployment as a part of surface warfare mission packages.”

Manufacturing takes place at a Bell Helicopter facility in Ozark, AL, with final assembly by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, MS.

“We are pleased to support the Navy with additional MQ-8C Fire Scouts with maritime dominance support through this procurement. Our team will strive to exceed expectations in affordability, quality and on-time delivery,” said Leslie Smith, vice president of tactical autonomous systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “

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