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Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

United States | 2014

"Formerly known as the Integrator, the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 UAV is now recognized as the Blackjack."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/01/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 "Blackjack" (formerly known as the "Integrator") is an in-development Unmanned Air System (UAS) intended to supplant the Boeing Scan Eagle UAV currently in service with the United States Navy and several other US allies. Both drones are low-cost, small-class unmanned aerial systems intended for at-sea launch and recovery and over-water surveillance operations. Insitu is a subsidiary of defense industry powerhouse Boeing and is based in Bingen, Washington. Boeing acquired the medium-sized UAV developer in the summer of 2008.

Unlike the preceding Scan Eagle design, the Blackjack makes use of a twin-boom configuration utilizing a centralized fuselage nacelle, straight wing assemblies and a rear-mounted engine situated in a "pusher" arrangement (the Scan Eagle was simpler design with no discernible tail section and swept-back wings. Borrowing from its Scan Eagle roots, Insitu has included support for existing Scan Eagle equipment to be used in the function of the Blackjack including its in-house Insitu "SuperWedge" pneumatic catapult launching system and precision "Skyhook" retrieval system, the latter "hooking" the incoming aircraft by a dangling rope atop a mast making contact with a hook fitted to a wingtip. The Blackjack is also dimensionally larger than the preceding Scan Eagle and, therefore, can showcase much improved mission performance specifications. The Blackjack sports a running length of just over 7 feet with a wingspan measuring 16 feet. The available engine fitting (an NWUAV gas / HFE powerplant) supplies the airframe with a cruising speed of 63 miles per hour and a useful mission endurance time of 24 hours. The aircraft's operating service ceiling is listed at 15,000 feet. Overall weight is a manageable 120lbs. All told, the provided specifications make the Blackjack a viable option for at-sea service, being both budget-conscious and portable compared to larger UAV brethren.

The official American military designation for the Blackjack is "RQ-21A". The vehicle recorded its first flight on July 28th, 2012 and has since gone on to complete several requisite over-land and at-sea trials. The Blackjack was most recently (February of 2013) seen in evaluations with the USS Mesa Verde, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. The United States Navy is validating the Blackjack system for possible quantitative procurement which currently is set at 5 air vehicles across 4 complete Blackjack packages. They are joined by the United States Marine Corps which is optimistically eyeing some 32 complete Blackjack systems with 5 air vehicles per package. The Netherlands is the only other notable potential operator and is considering five packages total. It is expected that the Blackjack would see operational service levels reached sometime in 2013-2014 with the US military and 2014 with the Royal Netherlands Army.

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September 2016 - It was announced that Canada had become the RQ-21's first true export customer. A package of five air vehicles has been committed to.

October 2018 - An RQ-21 Blackjack UAV has been successfully tested with UTC Aerospace Systems' new high-resolution InfraRed camera for the United States Navy.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
1 x NWUAV gas / HFE powerplant arrangement.
92 mph
148 kph | 80 kts
Max Speed
15,000 ft
4,572 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
1,491 miles
2,400 km | 1,296 nm
Operational Range
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
7.2 ft
2.20 m
O/A Length
16.1 ft
(4.90 m)
O/A Width
134 lb
(61 kg)
Empty Weight
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) .
None. Mission equipment will revolve around data collection for the maritime surveillance role.
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator) family line.
RQ-21 "Blackjack " - Base Series Designation; formerly recognized as the "Integrator".
RQ-21A - US military designation of initial production models.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 12 Units

Contractor(s): Boeing Insitu - USA
National flag of Canada National flag of the Netherlands National flag of the United States

[ Canada; Netherlands; United States ]
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Image of the Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator)

Going Further...
The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack (Integrator) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) appears in the following collections:
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