Insitu completes RQ-21A Block II first flight

Washington DC
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Insitu has completed the first flight of the RQ-21A Integrator Block II unmanned air vehicle at the company's Oregon flight test range.

The twin-boomed Integrator has been selected to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services for the US Navy. The first aircraft is due for delivery in late 2013, with initial operating capability to be achieved in 2014.

The 55kg (121lb) aircraft flew for around 2h, says Insitu, and was controlled by a new ground control system meant to integrate dissimilar UAV systems. The Block II also includes a new sensor, the same used on the NightEagle, a version of Insitu's ScanEagle.

The Block II is built to operate in high-temperature environments, such as those in which the USA has recently been engaged in warfare, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We are very pleased with the successful first flight and honoured to provide enhanced capabilities for our customers," says Insitu senior vice president of Integrator programmes Ryan Hartman. "Insitu prides itself on continued innovation to ensure that our customers have the latest and greatest technologies available on Insitu UAS."

The Integrator won the USN's large small tactical unmanned aircraft system contest to become the service's primary ship-based small UAV. Insitu, which is owned by Boeing, manufactures UAVs primarily for maritime applications.