U.S. Navy unmanned aircraft experts are buying one additional RQ-21A Blackjack small tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to provide battlefield reconnaissance capability for U.S. Marine Corps field commanders. Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced an $8 million order in June to Boeing Insitu Inc. in Bingen, Wash., for one full-rate-production, lot-1 Blackjack UAS, which includes air vehicle, ground control station, launch-and-recovery equipment, and air vehicle support equipment kit. The Navy announced separate $70.1 million and $71.6 million orders last January and last June for a collective 12 new RQ-21A Blackjack small tactical UAVs for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 is a twin-boom, single-engine, monoplane UAS for surveillance and reconnaissance. Users can launch and recover the reconnaissance UAS on land or at sea without runways by using a pneumatic launcher and net-type recovery system. Boeing Insitu will do the work in Bingen, Wash., and Hood River, Ore., and should be finished by January 2018.
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