Insitu completes first maritime flight of RQ-21A tactical UAS

Unmanned aircraft maker Insitu has successfully completed the first maritime flight of its small tactical unmanned aircraft system RQ-21A from a U.S. naval vessel, the company said April 9.

The two-hour flight was performed from the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), which is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock capable of transporting a fully equipped battalion of Marines.

The flight follows three months of based development testing and operational assessment, the Bingen, Wash.-based Boeing subsidiary said.

The RQ-21A is designed to be launched and recovered without a runway. Its payload can be rapidly reconfigured and integrated to help commanders react and respond to quickly to changing threats, the company said.

The Naval Air Systems Command awarded in 2010 a contract to Insitu to develop a small, tactical UAS known as the Integrator, the company said. The Integrator UAS design served as the baseline for the RQ-21A.

The Integrator UAS' mission is to furnish persistent maritime and land-based tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with data collection and dissemination capabilities.


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