The US Navy and Marine Corps have picked up options to buy four early versions of the Insitu Integrator even as the small tactical unmanned air system (STUAS) remains in development.
Last year, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) selected the RQ-21 Integrator for a three-year development contract. The award included an option to buy up to five systems of four aircraft each, after the Integrator completed an operational assessment earlier this year.
Col. Jim Rector, NAVAIR's program manager, confirmed the marines and navy decided to buy two systems each. The marines will receive the first system in September to support a predeployment readiness exercise called Mojave Viper. Another system will be delivered to the marines and two more will go the navy in the next several months, he said.
The early Integrator models will be modified at the end of the development phase to the final production configuration, Rector said.
Last month, the STUAS program completed a preliminary design review, he said, adding that the critical design review is scheduled in December. That will freeze the design for the Integrator to enter initial operational test and evaluation.
The operational assessment earlier this year revealed "a few things" that needed to be fixed, Rector said, adding that each of the unspecified issues was known by the program in advance.
The Integrator was selected to replace hundreds of Insitu ScanEagles currently performing surveillance missions on a fee-for-service basis.
The 135lb Integrator is more than three times larger than the ScanEagle, offering a larger internal payload that can accommodate signals intelligence and electronic warfare systems.