Insitu is ready to enter the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) stage with its RQ-21A unmanned aircraft system (UAS), after reaching Milestone C under its Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) contract with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
(RQ-21A in flight. Photo: Insitu.)
NAVAIR issued the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) STUAS contract to the Boeing
subsidiary in 2010, to begin development of the RQ-21A, a variant of the company's Integrator--designed to provide maritime tracking and monitoring of vessel movements.
During the EMD phase of the contract Insitu was required to build six aerial vehicles to support land and shipboard testing. On Wednesday, NAVAIR announced the $11.7 million LRIP contract, allowing the company to enter the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) phase of development.
"The sense of urgency and driving force behind our NAVAIR and Insitu team has been, and continues to be, the simple fact that the RQ-21A UAS will be the first organic & dedicated multi-intelligence UAS for U.S. Marine Corps and Navy tactical commanders," said PMA-263 Program Manager Col. Jim Rector. "The real-time, actionable intelligence and maritime domain awareness coming from multiple sensors off an expeditionary and ship-capable Group 3 sized UAS accelerates the 'when & how' our commanders will receive, process, disseminate and act on intelligence."
Insitu conducted the first maritime flight with the RQ-21A earlier this year. NAVAIR expects the first production RQ-21A to be complete by May 2014.
Related: Unmanned Systems News