RQ-21A Blackjack


The RQ-21A Blackjack provides the warfighter with dedicated day and night Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) coverage, target acquisition, and communication relay via a dedicated and cost effective airborne sensor system capable of delivering actionable intelligence to the tactical commander in real time. The expeditionary nature of the Blackjack, which does not require a runway for launch and recovery, makes it possible to deploy with minimal footprint from both austere land-based and shipboard environments.


A RQ-21A Blackjack system is comprised of five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery support equipment. At eight feet long, a wingspan of 16 feet and endurance up to 16 hrs, the air vehicle's open-architecture configuration is designed to seamlessly integrate multi mission payloads, to include day/night full-motion video cameras, infrared marker, laser range finder, communications relay package, Automatic Identification System receivers, as well as the addition of other payloads as determined by requirements.

The Marine Corps completed its first land-based operational deployment September 2014. Initial Operational Test and Evaluation was completed in January 2015. Initial Operational Capability was declared January 2016, followed by a Full Rate Production decision in fall 2016. Marine Corps RQ-21A land-based and shipboard deployments began summer 2016. The first Foreign Military Sales case was signed with Canada in 2016.


Range:  50 km
Speed: 60 kts
Endurance: up to 16 hrs
Altitude: up to 20,000 ft
Wing Span: 15.7 ft
Length:  8.2 ft
Weight: 135 lbs
Original Equipment Manufacturer: Insitu, Inc.


Fact sheet (1 mb)