WASHINGTON, DC – The February edition of National Defense Magazine profiles the first UAS designed specifically for the Marine Corps. Boeing Insitu began work on the RQ-21A or “Blackjack” drone in 2010 intending it to replace the Aerosonde UAS and the Boeing Insitu Scan Eagle. The relevant defense contract originally requested 56 systems; 32 for the Marines, the rest for the Navy.
…it is important to note that many of the Marine Corps’ (UAS) interests are—as of now—unfunded aspirations…So it is going to be absolutely critical for industry to shape opportunities and bring forward affordable, yet innovative solutions.”
Avascent Senior Associate Josh Pavluk commented that the USMC “budget request from fiscal years 2015 to 2019 calls for $375 million to be spent on the Blackjack alone.” He continued by stipulating that the Marine Corps will want improved ISR payloads, better tactical links, and additional EW capabilities for its unmanned aircraft going forward. Meanwhile, every service wants modular “plug-and-play” payloads to improve the economical versatility of unmanned systems.
While nano drones are also of interest, and the Marine Corps is also in need of a medium-altitude long-endurance UAS, all of the above requirement are largely aspiration and unfunded. Pavluk recommends that industry shape those requirements going forward in order to remain competitive in providing solutions when the time comes.
Click here to read: “Marine Corps Set to Deploy Next-Generation Unmanned Aircraft.”