The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps' Boeing-built RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft system will kick off its initial operation after the program received a go signal.
Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, Marine Corps' deputy commandant for aviation, said the first Marine unmanned aerial vehicle squadron has been confirmed for deployment with the RQ-21A system, the Navy said Wednesday.
“Achieving IOC designation means the fleet can now deploy using this critical piece of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance architecture to enhance mission success,” said Col. Eldon Metzger, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps small tactical UAS program office.
The Marines’ shipboard system is scheduled to deploy with Blackjack in the summer.
The system consists of five air vehicles, two ground control systems and launch and recovery equipment.