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Marine Corps Launches Insitu-Made Blackjack UAS in Afghanistan

BlackjackUASAn RQ-21A unmanned aircraft system has been deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps to Afghanistan for an initial operational capability flight, Aviation International News reported Wednesday.

Bill Carey writes that the service’s VMU-2 squadron will use the Insitu-built Blackjack UAS to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance operations at an Afghan combat zone.

The system is comprised of five aerial vehicles, two ground control platforms, a launcher and recovery equipment.

AIN reports that Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary, developed the unmanned technology for Marine Corps and Navy personnel to collect intelligence data as well as relay visual and voice communications.

RQ-21A drones are designed to carry a maximum 39-pound payload that consists of an electro-optic camera, laser rangefinder, infrared imager, automatic identification system receiver and communication tools.

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