January 22/16: The USMC has declared that the RQ-21A Blackjack UAV has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with deployment of the system to commence this summer. Formerly known as the Integrator, the Blackjack has been developed by Boeing as part of a low rate production of a small tactical unmanned air system (STUAS) for the US Navy, and uses the same same launcher and recovery system as the Scan Eagle system. One hundred systems of five vehicles each are planned for the USMC by 2017. Defense Industry Daily
The RQ-21A Blackjack is designed to support the U.S. Marine Corps by providing forward reconnaissance. A Blackjack system is composed of five air vehicles and two ground control systems. The air vehicles can be launched on land or on a ship by a rail and land using a “skyhook” recovery system, where a vertical wire must be hooked onto its wing; when on the ground, the launch and recovery systems are towable by vehicles.
Its wingspan is 16 ft (4.9 m) and it can carry a 39 lb (18 kg) payload. The day/night camera can achieve resolution rating of 7 on the NIIRS scale at 8,000 ft (2,400 m).
The Marines are working with Insitu to modify the Blackjack fuselage to carry greater and more various payloads. Enlarging the fuselage would increase its maximum takeoff weight from 135 lb (61 kg) to 145 lb (66 kg) and lengthen endurance from 16 hours to 24 hours.
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New turrets are being explored as well as other payloads including a synthetic aperture radar to track ground targets, a laser designator to mark targets for precision-guided munitions, and foliage-penetration capabilities for foreign customers operating in lush environments.
Classification of UAV
- Status:In service
- Wingspan:16 ft (4.8 m)
- Length:8.2 ft (2.5 m)
- MTOW:135 lb (61.2 kg)
- Altitude:19,500 ft (5,944 m)
- Endurance:24+ hours
- Speed:90+ knots (46.3 m/s)
- Engine:EFI; JP-5, JP-8
- Payload:40 lb (18 kg)