BINGEN, Wash., January 13, 2016 – Insitu’s RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) and stands ready to support the U.S. Marine Corps. The milestone, announced on Jan. 13, confirms that the first Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) is fully trained and equipped to support the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, this summer as well as all future deployments.
“Achieving IOC designation means the fleet can now deploy using this critical piece of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance architecture to enhance mission success,” said Col. Eldon Metzger, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office, located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
“IOC represents a foundation of ISR capability for the Marine Corps, as well as the path forward for continued innovation and tech enhancements that will demonstrate the broad utility inherent in the system,” said Ryan M. Hartman, Insitu’s president and CEO. “The success of Blackjack has truly been a team effort, and we are proud to continue to support the U.S. Marines Corps and Navy with a capability that helps them rapidly deploy into a warfighting environment.”
RQ-21A has significantly larger payload mass, volume and power than other small UAS currently being used by the Marines in theater. The system includes electro-optic and mid-wave infrared sensors with a laser rangefinder and infrared marker. A portfolio of payload options has been developed to deliver situational awareness for land and maritime missions.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded the STUAS Engineering Manufacturing Development contract to Insitu in 2010 to begin the development of RQ-21A Blackjack, a variant of the company’s Integrator unmanned system. The program achieved Milestone C in 2013, and delivered the First Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) system in 2014.
Insitu Inc., is an industry-leading provider of information for superior decision making. With offices in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data. We proudly serve the diverse needs of our global customers in the military, commercial and civil industries. Insitu is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.
For more information, visit www.insitu.com.
Insitu Media Relations