WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 131 SEAPOWER / ALMANAC 2017
MARINE CORPS C4ISR AND UNMANNED SYSTEMS
MAJOR UNMANNED SYSTEMS
PD- 100 BLACK HORNET
BRIEFING: The PD- 100 Black Hornet is a Personal Reconnaissance System that provides users with an immediate ISR
capability. At 6. 5 inches and weighing only 6 ounces, Black
Hornet is inherently safe and poses virtually no risk to other
air vehicles or personnel, allowing the system to be operated
almost anywhere at any time. Whether it is supporting a search
and rescue, object identification, proximity surveillance or situational awareness, the PD- 100 system can be airborne within
one minute, is nearly inaudible and will fit inside a pocket.
The system consists of two air vehicles, a single-handed
controller with base station, and a 7-inch, sunlight-readable
display unit. Black Hornet answers an urgent need for MARSOC.
CONTRACTOR: . . . . . . . . . . Prox Dynamics
BRIEFING: The ScanEagle is a 48.5-pound small, rail-launched, fixed-wing UAS that has served as an interim
UAS for Marines since 2004 and the Navy since 2005. It
has been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arabian Sea and in
other areas. It is equipped with an EO or IR sensor. Most
ScanEagles are owned and operated for deployed units
by contractor personnel from Boeing and Insitu, which is
a Boeing subsidiary, as part of an ISR services contract,
although some ScanEagles have been procured for the Navy’s
special operations forces.
CONTRACTOR: . . . . . . . . . . Insitu Inc.
BRIEFING: The Aersonde is a small, rail-launched, fixed-wing
UAS that is serving as an interim UAS solution for the Navy
as part of an ISR services contract. Aerosonde UASs are owned
and operated for deployed units by contractor personnel from
Textron Systems Unmanned Systems.
It is equipped with either an EO or IR full motion video
camera. An Aerosonde system is made up of multiple air vehicles, a ground control station, launch and recovery equipment,
and spare parts.
CONTRACTOR: . . . . . . . . . . Textron Systems Unmanned Systems
BRIEFING: The Blackjack UAS provides the warfighter with
dedicated day and night ISR coverage, target acquisition and
communication relay via a dedicated airborne sensor system
capable of delivering actionable intelligence to the tactical
commander in real time. The expeditionary nature of the
Blackjack, which does not require a runway for launch and
recovery, makes it possible to deploy with minimal footprint
from both austere land-based and shipboard environments.
A system comprises five air vehicles, two ground control
systems, and launch and recovery support equipment. At 8
feet long, a wingspan of 16 feet and endurance up to 16 hours,
the air vehicle’s open-architecture configuration is designed
to seamlessly integrate multimission payloads, to include
day/night full-motion video cameras, infrared marker, laser
range finder, communications relay package and Automatic
Identification System receivers, as well as the addition of
other payloads as determined by requirements.
The Marine Corps completed its first land-based operational deployment September 2014. Initial Operational Test
and Evaluation was completed in January 2015. IOC was
declared January 2016, followed by a full-rate production
decision in fall 2016.
The first post-IOC Marine Corps RQ-21A land-based and
shipboard deployments began in summer 2016.
CON TRAC TOR: . . . . . . . . . . Insitu Inc.
BRIEFING: The RQ-7B Shadow Tactical UAS primarily is
designed for day or night reconnaissance, surveillance, target
acquisition and battle damage assessment. The Shadow system
provides laser designation capability and robust intelligence
to ground troops and commanders by employing an EO/IR
The RQ-7B Shadow air vehicles also are capable of providing communication relay to supported ground forces. Each
system consists of four air vehicles, two GCSs with data-link
terminal and automatic landing system, two portable GCSs,
an aircraft transport with hydraulic launcher, and landing
arresting gear, four remote video terminals and equipment
transports in its basic configuration.
The systems were upgraded to the Tactical Common Data
Link configuration, which includes more secure data and video
transmission, air vehicle modifications for improved endurance
and a transition from analog GCS to digital universal GCS. Fleet
delivery of this configuration began in 2015.
CON TRAC TOR: . . . . . . . . . . Textron Systems Unmanned Systems
CQ-24A K-MAX CARGO RESUPPLY UAS
BRIEFING: The CQ-24A Cargo Resupply UAS consists of a single system based on two unmanned K-MAX helicopters, main
operating base and forward operating base GCSs, and associated ground support equipment and spares. The Marine Corps
conducted evaluations of the K-MAX to fill an urgent requirement for an unmanned ability to deliver/retrograde cargo to
forward operating bases while avoiding the use of convoys over
In November 2011, the Marine Corps deployed the CQ-24A
as a government-owned, contractor-operated system into
Afghanistan for a six-month evaluation in combat conditions.
The deployment was extended through May 2014. The two
K-MAX aircraft, along with the rest of the system, were
delivered to VMX- 1 in 2016 to support further cargo UAS
experimentation and concept of operations development.
CON TRAC TORS: . . . . . . . . . Lockheed Martin Corp., Kaman Corp.