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RQ-21A Blackjack

The RQ-21A Blackjack provides the warfighter with dedicated day and night Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) coverage, target acquisition, and communication relay via a dedicated and cost effective airborne sensor system capable of delivering actionable intelligence to the tactical commander in real time. The expeditionary nature of the Blackjack, which does not require a runway for launch and recovery, makes it possible to deploy with minimal footprint from both austere land-based and shipboard environments.

A RQ-21A Blackjack system is comprised of five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery support equipment. At eight feet long, a wingspan of 16 feet and endurance up to 16 hrs, the air vehicle's open-architecture configuration is designed to seamlessly integrate multi mission payloads, to include day/night full-motion video cameras, infrared marker, laser range finder, communications relay package, Automatic Identification System receivers, as well as the addition of other payloads as determined by requirements.

The Marine Corps completed its first land-based operational deployment September 2014. Initial Operational Test and Evaluation was completed in January 2015. Initial Operational Capability was declared January 2016, followed by a Full Rate Production decision in fall 2016. Marine Corps RQ-21A land-based and shipboard deployments began summer 2016. The first Foreign Military Sales case was signed with Canada in 2016.

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Air Vehicles with support for an estimated cost of $80 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 24, 2019. The Government of the UAE requested to buy twenty (20) RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). Also included are forty (40) Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Type II (MPE-S); air vehicle support equipment including eight (8) Ground Control Stations (GCS), four (4) launchers, and four (4) retrievers; spare and repair parts; publications; training; and technical support services. The estimated total case value is $80 million.

The Secretary of State determined and provided detailed justification that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to the United Arab Emirates of the above defense articles (and defense services) in the national security interests of the United States, thereby waiving the Congressional review requirements under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended. This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign and national security of the United States by improving the security of an important ally in the Middle East. This sale is consistent with U.S. national security objectives of assisting the UAE in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability and enhancing interoperability with U.S. forces. The UAE will have no difficulty absorbing these UAVs into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Insitu, Bingen, WA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Company. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in program and technical reviews plus training and maintenance support in country, on a temporary basis, for a period of twenty-four (24) months. It will also require one (1) contractor representative to reside in country for a period of two (2) years to support this program.

On June 28, 2019 Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, was awarded a $390,390,785 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for up to 63 RQ-21A attrition air vehicles for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy. In addition, this contract provided for up to six RQ-21A unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and up to 17 RQ-21A air vehicles for foreign military sales (FMS) customers, including the governments of Canada, Poland and Oman. The contractor will also provide up to 93 ScanEagle UASs in various configurations. In addition, this contract provides for associated services, including training, test and engineering, development of engineering change proposals, operations support, organizational level maintenance, field service representatives, land and ship surveys, hardware site activations, hardware installs, repairs and data. Work will be performed in Bingen, Washington (83%) and various locations inside the continental United States (CONUS) (5%) and outside CONUS (12%), and is expected to be completed in June 2022. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy), fiscal 2019 building partnership capacity, and FMS funds in the amount of $9,919,160 will be obligated at time of award, $9,519,160 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-19-D-0033).

RQ-21A Blackjack RQ-21A Blackjack

Range 50 km
Speed 60 kts
Endurance up to 16 hrs
Altitude up to 20,000 ft
Wing Span 15.7 ft
Length 8.2 ft
Weight 135 lbs
Original Equipment Manufacturer Insitu, Inc.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2019 19:20:14 ZULU