Navy asks Boeing Insitu to build Blackjack and ScanEagle UAVs and sensors for sailors, Marines, and allies

Oct. 4, 2022
The 81-pound Blackjack is eight feet long with a 16-foot wingspan, and is designed to carry multi-sensor payloads in a large pod below its nose.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts are ordering 38 small and medium-sized UAVs from Boeing Insitu Inc. in Bingen, Wash., under terms of a $191.8 million order announced last month.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Boeing Insitu to provide 13 RQ-21A Blackjack and 25 ScanEagle UAVs, as well as 48 RQ-21A and ScanEagle sensors and turrets, support equipment, tools, and spare parts. These reconnaissance UAVs are for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and U.S. allies.

The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 is a twin-boom, single-engine, monoplane UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance. Users can launch and recover the reconnaissance drone on land or at sea without runways by using a pneumatic launcher and net-type recovery system.

The 81-pound Blackjack is eight feet long with a 16-foot wingspan, and is designed to carry multi-sensor payloads in a large pod below its nose. The UAV can fly as quickly as 104 miles per hour, cruises at 63 miles per hour, can fly as long as 24 hours, and can fly as high as 19,500 feet. It is a version of the Insitu Integrator UAV.

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Users can customize the RQ-21A Blackjack's multi-mission open-architecture payload bays with visible-light and infrared cameras, communications, and other tools to provide situational awareness information to warfighters on the forward edge of battle.

The drone can integrate new payloads quickly, offers roll-on, roll-off capability to move the system quickly from ship to shore, as well as to and from cargo aircraft. The UAV can carry sensor payloads as heavy as 39 pounds.

The Blackjack's standard sensor payload consists of a visible-light imager, mid-wave infrared imager, laser rangefinder, infrared marker, communications, and automatic identification system.

The RQ-21A will provide persistent maritime and land-based tactical reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) data collection and dissemination capabilities to sailors and Marines.

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For the Marine Corps it will provide the marine expeditionary force, divisions, and regiments with a dedicated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system that sends information to the tactical commander in real time.

For the Navy the Blackjack will provide persistent RSTA information to Navy ships, Marine Corps land forces, Navy expeditionary combat command forces, and Navy special warfare units.

The Boeing Insitu ScanEagle UAV is 5.1 feet long with a 5.6-foot wingspan. It weighs as much as 48.5 pounds and can carry a 7.5-pound sensor payload. The UAV can fly for more than 24 hours at altitudes as high as 19.500 feet, and at speeds to 80 knots.

The ScanEagle UAV can fly on gasoline or heavy fuels like jet fuel, diesel, or kerosine. It provides persistent surveillance and reconnaissance imagery on land or at sea at lower costs than other surveillance methods for military and agriculture missions.

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ScanEagle can carry a sensor payload consisting of visible-light camera, medium-wave infrared imager, or both integrated in one turret. The UAV ans has an analog digitally encrypted video data links, as well as encrypted or unencrypted command-and-control data links.

The UAV can be launched autonomously and uses a no-nets recovery system that recovers with its wing tip on a rope that hangs from a boom.

On this order Boeing Insitu will do the work in Bingen, Wash., and at locations outside the Continental U.S., and should be finished by June 2026. For more information contact Boeing Insitu online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

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