The US Navy’s sea-based MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter will be equipped with Northrop Grumman‘s weapons system.

The Fire Scout will be armed with advanced precision kill weapons system laser-guided 70mm rockets to detect and destroy enemy targets.

Northrop’s tactical unmanned systems vice-president George Vardoulakis said: "This capability shortens the kill chain and lessens the need to put our soldiers in harm’s way."

The unmanned helicopter features a modular architecture and is used for supporting littoral missions such as drug interdiction, antipiracy actions, search and rescue, reconnaissance and port security.

The US Navy has awarded a $17m contract to Northrop to deliver the weapons system and it is expected to be completed by March 2013.