The U.S. Navy's first MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter completed ground testing and engine runs during its initial testing Friday at Naval Base Ventura Country Point Mugu, Calif.
(MQ-8C Fire Scout at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif., on Sept. 20 to prepare the system for flight operations. Photo, courtesy of Northrop Grumman.
engineers powered up the aircraft's rotor blades for the first time Friday, as the company looked to collect enough data to ensure the Scout's systems are functioning properly ahead of its upcoming first flight.
"Completion of these tests signifies our steady progress toward the first flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout," said George Vardoulakis, vice president of medium range tactical systems at Northrop Grumman.
(Northrop Grumman test engineers conduct the first engine runs of the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Photo, courtesy of Northrop Grumman.)
The Navy currently has the company under contract to produce an MQ-8C for deployment beginning next year. According to a spokesperson for Northrop Grumman, the first flight of the MQ-8C is scheduled for October.
Related: Unmanned Systems