USMC acquires additional Backjack UAVs
The US Marine Corps (USMC) will receive four more RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs following a contract award on 22 August.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Insitu the full rate production contract for the four systems which includes a total of eight air attrition vehicle, one for the government of Poland and seven for the USMC.
Ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, shipboard equipment kits and systems engineering programme management is also included in the contract.
Delivery is expected to be complete by June 2019.
The RQ-21A Blackjack UAS is replacing the now retired RQ-7B Shadow UAS which was in service with the USMC.
The Shadow was officially retired after its final flight during the culmination event for the Rim of the Pacific exercise at Pyramid Rock Beach in Hawaii.
The US Navy has ordered a total of 16 systems with the USMC ordering a further 14. In February 2018 the navy stated that its procurement was complete, with all USMC deliveries expected to be complete by 2019. Further attrition air vehicles will be ordered as required.
Other operators of the RQ-21A include Canada (ordered through FMS in 2016) and Poland (ordered through FMS in 2018).
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