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 October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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>