Navy Orders Four RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Aerial Systems
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — Boeing’s Insitu subsidiary has been awarded a $54 million contract to deliver more RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial systems (UASs) along with additional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for existing systems.
According to an Aug. 21 Defense Department contract announcement, Naval Air Systems Command ordered four full-rate production Lot II RQ-21A UAS. In addition, the contract calls for eight RQ-21A UAVs to replace attrition, seven for the U.S. Marine Corps and one for the armed forces of Poland, the latter under Foreign Military Sales. Each Blackjack UAS includes five UAVs.
The contract also calls for “the procurement of ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, shipboard equipment kits as well as systems engineering and program management support.”
The RQ-21A has replaced the RQ-7 Shadow in Marine Corps service. The Blackjack was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 to achieve early operational capability. The Blackjack also was used over Libya in 2016 from USS Wasp in operational surveillance missions.