The Marines plan to swell the arsenal of their newest small drone over the next five years by more than 12 times the current level — the largest proportional increase of any of the military’s unmanned aircraft.
The RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) was delivered to the military earlier this year. The Marine Corps currently has eight of the unmanned aerial vehicles and plans on acquiring a total of 100 by fiscal year 2017, according to a Defense Department Congressional report.
The drone is based off of the smaller unmanned Scan Eagle. Still acting as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tool, the RQ-21A is bigger than its ancestor, the Scan Eagle, making it capable of carrying more equipment.