Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight of an MQ-8B Fire Scout equipped with a new maritime surveillance radar that will “drastically” improve the Navy’s long-range surface search capabilities, the contractor said. The Navy plans to field the radar on the unmanned helicopter next year.
Bell Helicopter executives told AIN that the company will be pursuing initial type certification of its new 505 Jet Ranger X light single from Transport Canada and will conduct prototype assembly and flight-testing of the aircraft from its plant in Mirabel, Quebec. First flight is expected later this year.
The U.S. Navy recently ordered five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts, bringing to 19 the number of Bell 407-based unmanned helicopters it plans to buy from Northrop Grumman. But the Fire Scout program faces scrutiny by Congress for cost overruns.
Eagle Copters has resumed work on the Eagle 407HP conversion that retrofits the Honeywell HST900D-2 engine into the Bell 407 in place of the stock Rolls Royce C47. The Honeywell engine maintains power through higher altitudes, according to Eagle, improving payload capacity by 40 percent at 12,000 feet while reducing specific fuel consumption and delivering a 22 percent better power output than the stock engine in high/hot conditions. The new engine also offers e an 8 percent reduction in takeoff and 10 percent lower max cruise specific fuel consumption.
Known primarily in the rotorcraft segment for its flight data management (FDM) products, Appareo Systems returns to Heli-Expo this year with a series of customer events and presentations planned throughout the show, including demonstrations of its Stratus 2 wireless automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B IN) receiver.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout on October 31. The unmanned helicopter, which is based on the Bell 407, flew twice that day at the Point Mugu range at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif.
On the first flight in restricted airspace, the MQ-8C flew in a pattern around the airfield for seven minutes to validate autonomous control systems; on the second flight, it reached an altitude of 500 feet while flying in a pattern. The aircraft was operated by a combined Navy/Northrop Grumman flight-test team located at the naval base.
Bell Helicopter (Booth No. C9343) continued to expand its global presence last month with purchase agreements covering seven aircraft signed during Jet Expo 2013 in Moscow and a deal with Heli-Charter involving the first Bell 429 configured for air ambulance operations in the UK.
Northrop Grumman delivered the first MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to the U.S. Navy earlier this month in preparation for ground and flight testing. The first MQ-8C arrived at the Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., Point Mugu sea test range, where it is assigned to the VX-30 air test and evaluation squadron.
Bell Helicopter announcedforeign approval of seven products distributed through itsAeronautical Accessories brand.Approvals were received in May from the Ukraine State Aviation Administration, Brazil’sAgência Nacional de Aviação Civil(ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for numerous products, including Ukraine approvals for Bell 407 cabin floor protectors and baggage floor protectors; ANAC approvals for the health and usage monitoring system for the Bell 429, an antenna kit for the Bell 407
The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to build six more MQ-8C unmanned helicopters based on the Bell 407, bringing to 14 the number of new, larger Fire Scouts under contract. The Navy plans to acquire a total of 30 MQ-8Cs under a rapid development effort that calls for deployment next year.
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