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...Fire Scout Cont'

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And now for news on the Navy Fire Scout front.

This isn't something necessarily to shout from the rooftops, but it's significant nonetheless because of what we just wrote on the Army version.

The Navy, seeing its LCS program slipping into budget and programmatic limbo, has decided to keep it's Naval variant of the Fire Scout alive by assigning it to another type of ship while it waits for the LCS to come to life.

Officials weren't able to name the new ship, saying the Navy was still trying to decide. But it seems that the decision isn't hung up in technical factors so much as it is in scheduling ones.

One source told me it's more a question of when the next aviation-capable ship is available for testing and certification than anything else. And Fire Scout backers say the relatively simple design can be accommodated on any of the Navy's ships that can land a helicopter.

Officials said the decision should be announced within the next two weeks.

In other Fire Scout news, the company is building it's own Fire Scout test bed based on the MQ-8B design to evaluate new components. It'll be called Project Whitetail and first out of the gates is a sea scanning radar built by Telephonics.

The new radar will be used to try and prove the Fire Scout's utility as an anti-submarine platform and company officials say the Whitetail is key to attracting foreign partners who might have their own payloads to contribute to a national buy.

-- Christian

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