Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation at the U.S. Marine Corps, said in his speech at the Defense Unmanned Systems conference that the service branch’s newest unmanned aerial vehicle has performed its first combat mission, Seapower Magazine reported Wednesday.
Otto Kreisher writes an anonymous source from the Defense Department told Seapower Magazine that the MQ-21A Blackjack combat mission occurred in the Middle East.
Davis noted that Blackjack UAVs have been deployed in two locations including the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit that sails with the USS Wasp-led amphibious ready group.
He added the drone is built to support multiple missions, unlike most of the Marine UAVs that only perform ISR operations, and that the service branch wants its future unmanned aircraft to have the capacity to operate from ships and expeditionary land bases.
The RQ-21A UAV, manufactured by Boeing‘s Insitu subsidiary, is designed to offer persistent maritime and land-based tactical reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition data collection and dissemination capacity to warfighters.