November 9, 2011

WASHINGTON – The US military plans to add a new lethal drone to its fleet — a robotic helicopter for the US Navy equipped with laser-guided rockets, defense giant Northrop Grumman said Wednesday.

The armed Fire Scouts will mark a new era in naval warfare, offering an alternative to pilots flying attack helicopters or fighter jets off ships and reflecting a broader shift to robotic technology across the US military over the past several years.

An unarmed version of the MQ-8B Fire Scout is already flying surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the US Navy, using cameras and sensors inside a cone on the aircraft’s nose.

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