07/16/2014: RQ-21 RPA for the USN-USMC Team
The first two photos are credited to Navy Media Content Services and the next three to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing & Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
- In the first photo, the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS) is recovered with the flight recovery apparatus cable aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) after its first flight at sea. Mesa Verde is underway conducting exercises (2/10/13).
- In the second photo, the MKIV launcher prepares to launch the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System from the flight deck of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) for its first flight at sea.
- In the third photo, Lance Cpl. Kirk Humes, left, and Cpl. Johnnie Hays, right, lift an RQ-21A Blackjack prior to launch at Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic’s flight line, March 21, 2014. Humes is an UAV maintainer and Hays is an UAV operator, both with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 (3/21/14).
- In the fourth photo, Cpl. Johnnie Hays adjusts the RQ-21A Blackjack on its launching system at Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic’s flight line, March 21, 2014. Hays is an unmanned aerial vehicle operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2.
- The final photo shows an RQ-21A Blackjack belonging to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 sits on the flight line of Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic, March 21, 2014. The Blackjack is eight feet long with a wing span of 16 feet and can hold payloads up to 25 pounds.
According to the Insitu website:
Insitu was awarded the STUAS contract in 2010 to begin development of RQ-21A Blackjack. This program of record for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps is the first organic and dedicated multi-intelligence Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for USMC and USN tactical commanders.
The system is modular, flexible and multi-mission capable, providing roll-on, roll-off transitions between land and maritime environments. RQ-21A Blackjack’s open architecture payload bays can be customized with imagers, communication capabilities and other tools to deliver exceptional situational awareness.
- Rapidly integrates new payloads for expanded mission sets.
- Roll-on, roll-off capability supports ship-to-objective maneuvers.
- Expeditionary and runway independent to support tactical missions on land and at sea.
- Long endurance.
- Minimal footprint accommodates small sites and deck operations.
Length: 8.2 ft / 2.5 m Wingspan: 16 ft / 4.8 m
Empty structure weight: 81 lb / 36 kg › Max takeoff weight: 135 lb / 61 kg Max payload weight*: 39 lb / 17 kg
Endurance: up to 16 hours Ceiling: >19,500 Max horizontal speed: 90+ knots Cruise speed: 60 knots Engine: 8 HP reciprocating engine with EFI; JP-5, JP-8
- Onboard power: 350 W for payload
- Onboard connectivity: Ethernet (TCP/IP), data encryption
- Standard Payload Configuration
- Electro-optic imager
- Mid-wave infrared imager
- Laser rangefinder
- IR marker
- Communications relay and AIS