Boeing Frontiers
May 2003
Volume 02, Issue 01
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Industry Wrap

Northrop Grumman hopes to build 32 Fire Scout VTUAVs

Northrop Grumman hopes to build 32 Fire Scout VTUAVsNorthrop Grumman in April said it wants to build 32 Fire Scout Vertical Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by the end of 2005 and is pitching to other services the resurrected platform it began developing for the U.S. Navy, according to Helicopter News.

Since the time Fire Scout received $4 million this year in the Navy's budget request, the service has asked for an additional $35 million in its unfunded priority list for the program. If the company can get another $15 million, it will be able to produce eight air vehicles in 2004, Tim Beard, company director of unmanned systems business development, told reporters recently at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2003 symposium in Washington, according to the report.

In addition to Congress and the Navy, Northrop Grumman is working hard to convince the U.S. Marine Corps of Fire Scout's potential in the service's three-tier UAV strategy, Beard told Helicopter News.

"Our hope is [the Marine Corps] will look at Fire Scout as an interim solution [in lieu of the improved Pioneer], get it fielded, decide if it meets or partially meets the requirements, and work for a better solution," Beard said. "The idea with the open system architecture built into Fire Scout is that the systems can migrate into another air vehicle, but until you get something out there to work with and work the bugs out, you're never going to get there," he told the publication.

If the company can produce eight aircraft next year, it would give the U.S. Navy two aircraft on each coast, the report said.



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