The RQ-21 Blackjack drone, a small unmanned system originally designed for the Navy, is exactly as expeditionary as its trailer-launcher and skyhook recovery system let it be. Because it does need additional fixed infrastructure (think: runways), the Blackjack is a useful platform for real-time information, launched by Marines on land or on ships. On April 9, Utah’s IMSARS LLC announced it has configured its NSP-5 standard sensor payload as a possible mission kit for the Blackjack drone.
The new radar payload lets the drone create synthetic-aperture radar imagery, observe and note changes in the area it is surveilling, and also track moving targets on the ground. Marines watching from a control station can then take that processed information and send it out to units in the field, giving them useful real-time information for operations. Synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, is particularly appealing to Marines in this case because it can collect imagery at night or during inclement weather.
Read the full article on C4ISRNET