A unit of the U.S. Marine Corps has expanded unmanned aircraft system flight operations over airspace that regularly accommodates military and commercial air traffic.
During the flight, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 integrated RQ-21A Blackjack operations with manned aircraft in the Class D airspace at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the Marine Corps said March 25.
“Unmanned aerial systems like the Blackjack are commonly flown from forward sites that sometimes restrict our integration with other air players and events,“ said 1st Lt. Orlando Benedict, a VMU-2 UAS officer.
“Having the RQ-21A at MCAS Cherry Point fosters connections with the rest of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and allows for procedures that integrate manned and unmanned aviation to be solidified for the future.“
The inaugural flight of the UAS in Class D airspace was held March 21, the Marine Corps said.
It is a follow-on to the ScanEagle UAS and serves to meet the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps requirement for a small tactical UAS capability.