The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on Wednesday conducted the first east coast flight with Insitu's RQ-21A unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at its Patuxent River, Md., base.
(RQ-21A takes its first flight from Webster Field Annex, an outlying field to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., June 12. Photo, courtesy of U.S. Navy.)
Insitu recently reached Milestone C under its Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) contract with NAVAIR, clearing the way to enter the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) stage with the RQ-21A. NAVAIR is now conducting flight tests with the UAS in preparation for Integrated Operational Test and Evaluatoin (IOT&E) this fall.
Current testing is being carried out to evaluate recent software, fuselage and camera upgrades installed on the RQ-21A.
“This test period brings us closer to providing our warfighter with a unique capability — an indigenous UAS capable of operations from both land and sea,” said U.S. Marine Corp. Col. Jim Rector, PMA-263 program manager.
NAVAIR expects Insitu to complete the first production RQ-21A by May 2014.