The US Department of Defence concluded a contract with the Insitu Inc. company. The agreement envisages production of a single package of the RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs. The drone has been ordered by the Polish government via the FMS programme. The contract value has been defined at the level of USD 11.357 million. The price includes the airframes, ground control stations, take off and landing support measures, engineering systems and programme management. The UAV and equipment manufacturing processes will involve the Insitu Inc. facility based in Bingen, Washington, and in Hood River, Oregon.
The aircraft will be delivered until July 2018. Jane’s claims that the UAVs will be additionally fitted with a GPS receiver coupled with a SAASM crypto module. The newly procured UAV system is going to complement the Scan Eagles, operated by the Special Forces.
RQ-21A Blackjack is a military derivative of the Boeing Insitu Integrator platform, designed for use in maritime conditions. The UAV has been additionally fitted with a daytime/night camera, laser rangefinder, infra-red target designator, communications system and AIS receiver. The system’s take off weight is 61 kilograms, with payload capacity of 18 kilograms. Its flight endurance is said to exceed 16 hours at altitudes of up to 5900 metres. RQ-21A attains cruise speed of 101 kph.
Single RQ-21A set consists of five airframes and two ground control stations. Warsaw will become the third foreign user of the system, following Canada and the Netherlands. Blackjacks are operated by the USMC (32 sets, 100 planned) and the US Navy (25 sets).