Thursday, June 1, 2023

U.S. Marine’s Shadow UAS conducted final flight during RIMPAC

The RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) of the  U.S. Marines with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 had conducted its final flight during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

According to the press service of the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, during RIMPAC exercise was held last flight for the Shadow in the U.S. Marine Corps in which the platform will be replaced with the RQ-21 Blackjack, a technologically superior and expeditionary UAS.

The RQ-7 Shadow UAS is an Army owned product leased by the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is currently out the Shadow and upgrading to the RQ-21A Blackjack system, which is a Marine Corps owned product.


The RQ-7 Shadow is designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and battle damage assessment. Launched from a trailer-mounted pneumatic catapult, it is recovered with the aid of arresting gear similar to jets on an aircraft carrier. Its gimbal-mounted, digitally stabilized, liquid nitrogen-cooled electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera relays video in real time via a C-band line-of-sight data link to the ground control station (GCS).

The Blackjack will provide day and night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coverage in real time. It can fly up to 16 hours, is eight feet long, and will include day and night full motion video cameras, infrared markers, laser range finders, a communications relay package and automatic identification system receivers.

RQ-21A Blackjack is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System designed and manufactured by Insitu Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. RQ-21A Blackjack is a Group 3 UAV.

The Blackjack can be deployed in persistent maritime and land-based tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, data collection, target acquisition and dissemination missions.

The multi-intelligence aircraft system constitutes five air vehicles with multi-mission payloads, two ground control stations and ancillary equipment.

A U.S. Marine Corps RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System Photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres
A U.S. Marine Corps RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System Photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres
A U.S. Marine Corps RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System Photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres

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Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense adviser and a consultant. He graduated in business management and worked at leading European defense companies before becoming a military journalist. read more