Defense

September 11, 2012

New expeditionary UAV takes off from China Lake, sans runway

Navy and Insitu personnel lift the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System on to launcher in preparation for flight at Naval Air Station China Lake, Calif., Sept. 10.

The Navy successfully launched its newest small unmanned aircraft without using a runway Sept. 10 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif.

A little more than two years into its engineering, manufacturing and development phase, the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System entered developmental test at China Lake, beginning with a 66-minute flight Sept. 10.

During the initial developmental flight test at the weapons station, operators flew the RQ-21A using a unique pneumatic launcher and a recovery system known as Skyhook. This system, developed by Insitu, Inc., eliminates the need for runways and enables a safe recovery and expeditionary capability for tactical missions on land or sea.

The RQ-21A uses a unique pneumatic launcher and a recovery system known as Skyhook. This system eliminates the need for runways and enables a safe recovery and expeditionary capability for tactical missions on land or sea.

“The flight at China Lake marks the start of a new test phase for RQ-21A STUAS, the first expeditionary, multi-intelligence UAS in its class,” said Col. Jim Rector, STUAS program manager at Patuxent River, Md. “Developmental test will be fast-paced, like the rest of the program has been. We are on track for initial operational capability in 2013.”

Sailors and Marines from from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30 at China Lake are not the first to experience the expeditionary “no runway” solution. Three hours southeast of the base, Marines at Twentynine Palms are already training with an RQ-21A Early Operational Capability system. The CONUS-based deployment allows the Navy and Marines to train units and operators, collect additional performance data and identify opportunities to expand the flight envelope.

“Marines are getting experience on how to operate and use the system while our team is collecting valuable data,” Rector said. “Lessons learned from this deployment will be directly applied to the program of record. EOC helps us mitigate and evaluate risks early on.”

While both RQ-21A variants are similar to operate, the RQ-21A STUAS is more robust. RQ-21A EOC uses long-wave infrared camera, which will be replaced with mid-wave infrared camera for production. The upgraded variant also adds enhanced features for operational security and an automatic identification system for maritime missions.

RQ-21A provides expanded payload capacity and rapid payload integration so that the war fighter can use the most advanced, and relevant, payload for their unique land and maritime missions and counter-warfare actions. The platform provides persistent maritime and land-based tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition data collection and dissemination capabilities to the war fighter.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 
 

NASA cargo launches to space station aboard SpaceX resupply mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m., EDT, April 18. The mission is the company’s third...
 

 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 
 

Boeing to give California workers $47 million in back pay

PALMDALE, Calif. – Boeing will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced April 18. An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records...
 
 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>