Navy awards $71M contract for more unmanned helicopters

MOSS POINT — The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract valued at more than $71 million to produce six additional next-generation Fire Scout unmanned helicopters.

The Navy plans to purchase a total of 30 aircraft under a rapid development effort. Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to produce 14 Fire Scouts that are scheduled to begin deploying in 2014.

Manufacturing and assembly operations of the new Fire Scout variant are well underway across the country, with airframe modifications being made at Bell’s facility in Ozark, Ala., and final assembly being completed at Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point.

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