Insitu to build Blackjacks for US forces
Insitu has been awarded a contract to build six RQ-21A Blackjack UAS for the US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Navy, the company announced on 30 July.
The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS) Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract progresses the programme towards the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase. The RQ-21A Blackjack is a variant of the company's Integrator UAS.
Insitu was awarded the STUAS engineering manufacturing development contract in 2010 to develop the RQ-21A Blackjack. It delivered the first LRIP system in 2014 after achieving milestone C in 2013.
The RQ-21A Blackjack features electro-optic and mid-wave infrared sensors with an infrared marker and laser rangefinder. Various payload options are available for land and maritime missions.
Col Eldon Metzger, program manager for the navy and marine corps STUAS, said: 'This award will increase the number of systems to the fleet and bring a greater footprint and capability to the marine air-ground task force and naval special warfare teams to meet operational demands.
Ryan Hartman, president and CEO, Insitu, said: 'Blackjack will deliver unparalleled organic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coverage. We are proud to support the navy and marines and provide a capability that helps them rapidly deploy the system into a warfighting environment.'
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