Marine Corps Set to Deploy Next-Generation Unmanned Aircraft

Marine Corps Set to Deploy Next-Generation Unmanned Aircraft image
February 4, 2015 | Source: National Defense Magazine

The Marine Corps and Navy will launch their newest unmanned aerial system, the RQ-21A Blackjack, from a ship this spring for the first time, and are looking into developing pocket-sized reconnaissance drones, a service aviation official said.

At 140 pounds, the new Blackjack is considered a small tactical unmanned aerial system designed to support infantry regiments.

“Blackjack is still in test and low-rate initial production, but will provide persistent land-based and maritime, tactical [reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition] data collection and dissemination capabilities,” Col. Eldon Metzger, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps small tactical unmanned air systems program office at Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email.