By Rich Smith
Boeing’s unmanned aerial vehicle-building subsidiary Insitu was awarded an $8.8 million option exercise to supply the U.S. Navy with a single Low Rate Initial Production II RQ-21A “Blackjack” Unmanned Aircraft System, including air vehicles, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and air vehicle support equipment. Delivery is due May 2014.
Measuring 8.2 feet in length by 16 feet in wingspan, the 81-pound Blackjack is considered a small UAV. It is launched by catapult, has a flight endurance of 13 hours or more, and can fly at speeds of up to 90 knots. Unarmed, it is considered primarily a surveillance and reconnaissance drone.
Boeing’s other contract win actually went to the company’s joint venture with Textron (NYSE:TXT ) , the Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office. Bell-Boeing was awarded an $18.1 million contract modification to provide continued logistics support for U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force, and Special Forces Operations Command versions of the JV’s V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. This contract will now run through January.