Wicker, Cochran Highlight Moss Point Plant’s Growing Role Producing Unmanned Aircraft for Navy

Military Contracts Give Northrup Grumman Facility Bigger Piece of Triton, Fire Scout Production

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., today highlighted Mississippi’s growing role in providing unmanned aircraft for the Defense Department, pointing to two recent U.S. Navy contracts for aircraft to be produced in Moss Point.

The Northrup Grumman facility at Moss Point will be one of the primary manufacturing locations for production of 10 ship-based MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters and three shore-based MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance aircraft. Through contracts awarded to Northrup Grumman Systems Corp., construction and assembly of the Fire Scout and Triton fuselage will take place at the Moss Point facility, including installation of the internal electrical and mechanical components.

“The Moss Point facility is responsible for final assembly of the Fire Scouts, and it will assume a similar role in producing the Triton fuselage. This is good news, both in terms of confidence in our workforce and in terms of maintaining stable production lines for aircraft required by the Defense Department. It is clear that Moss Point workers will play a critical role in the future of Navy unmanned aviation,” Cochran said.

“It is clear why the Moss Point facility and its workers are being asked to play a bigger role in producing the next generation of unmanned aircraft,” Wicker said. “This increased workload is a testament to the high-quality job that they are doing to deliver cutting-edge aircraft to our national defense.”

The Navy last month awarded a $108.1 million contract for the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air systems, using FY2015 and FY2016 procurement funds provided by Congress. The Moss Point facility will complete final assembly and checkout of the Fire Scout aircraft before delivery to the Navy. Work on these aircraft is expected to be completed in August 2019.

Last week, the Navy also awarded a $255.2 million contract to procure three low-rate initial production Lot 1 MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, one main operation control station, one forward operation control station, training courseware, and tooling. The aircraft fuselage, including outfitting of the electrical and mechanical components, will be assembled at Moss Point. The Navy plans on acquiring 68 MQ-4C Triton aircraft over the life of the program.

Cochran and Wicker have used their committee assignments to support procurement programs for aircraft and vessels identified as needed by the Defense Department to support the nation’s security interest. Cochran is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense. Wicker is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower.