Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
9 April 2013
Also Known As: Integrator
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: RQ-21 Blackjack
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2014
Maiden Flight: 9 April 2013
Total Production: ?
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Description: The RQ-21A Blackjack is small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS) developed by Insity for the US Navy (USN) and the US Marine Corps (USMC) as a long endurance, organic and dedicated multi-intelligence Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operating at the tactical level. The RQ-21 is modular, flexible and multi-mission capable, providing roll-on, roll-off transitions between land and maritime environments. The RQ-21 aircraft's open architecture payload bays can be customized with imagers, communication capabilities and other tools to deliver exceptional situational awareness. The USN and USMC started the RQ-21 program development in 2010 with the first maritime flight being carried out on April 9, 2013, from USS Mesa Verde. At the end of 2013, the US Armed Forces awarded Insitu the first production contract with deliveries beginning in 2014 along with the initial operational capability.
The 61-kg, 4.8 meters wide RQ-21A air vehicle is powered by a single 8-hp EFI engine using JP-5 or JP-8 fuel. The engine drives a two-blade propeller allowing a cruise speed of 60 knots (110 kph) and maximum speed in excess of 90 knots (165 kph). The small RQ-21 has been designed to stay airborne for more than 13 hours at altitudes of up to 19,500-ft (6,000 meters). The sensor packages available for the RQ-21 include electro-optical imager, mid-wave infrared imager, laser rangefinder, IR marker, communications relay equipment and AIS. The air vehicle is released using a launch catapult and recovered using a net.
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