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 September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>