Navy Signs $17-Million Deal for Armed Drones

November 8, 2011

In 100 years of naval aviation, only the most experienced combat pilots have performed the difficult task of launching an attack on a nearby target and returning the aircraft to a ship as it bobs in the ocean.

Now that tricky task is being turned over to unmanned drones.

With a $17-million contract, the U.S. Navy has taken the first step in arming its fleet of drone helicopters with laser-guided missiles to blast enemy targets. The Northrop Grumman Corp.-made MQ-8B Fire Scout would be Navy's first sea-based unmanned system to carry weapons when it's delivered within 15 months. 

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