VMU-2, also called as Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 is a UAV squadron in United States Marine corps. This troop was made to handle the UAV drones that were introduced for military purpose.
Recently, this squadron was in news due to the addition of one more airspace. According to the update, it has added one more UAV under its vast list of drones. The drone is RQ-21A Blackjack, which is kept under class-D. This drone was welcomed in the military on March 21 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, March 21. In general, class-D is defined as the flying range for any drone. In this class, the flight measures from surface to 2500 feet. However, the changes can be done time to time on requirement basis.
Talking about RQ-21A Blackjack, it is a maritime SR unit, which is majorly made for the purpose of ground security. It will be used to safeguard military bases and other uncomfortable activities. This drone is capable to deliver 16-hour flight, which can be further extended up to 24 hours (when required). It can touch a height of 19,000 feet from the ground level.
According to a statement, given by Sgt. James E. Burch “The Blackjack’s main purpose is to support aerial reconnaissance missions,”
This is not the first time VMU-2 gets introduced to a new UAV technology. Since its development, the squadron has been keen to control and operate different drones, which majorly include Pioneer UAV, RQ-21A Blackjack, Boeing Insitu ScanEagle, AAI RQ-2 Pioneer, and many more.
Let’s have a short roundup about these drones.
AAI RQ-2 Pioneer:
This UAV served US army and marine from 1984 till 2007. The drone was developed with the collaboration of AAI Corporation and Israel Aircraft Industries. Its initial testing was done by US and Israeli Armies. But with the advancement, it was amended with a greater payload. When it comes to the history, this drone will always be remembered for its unpredictable role during the Gulf war.
Moving into its technicalities, this AAI RQ-2 Pioneer is equipped with 2-stroke, 2-cylinder engine which can churn a maximum 36hp power. It’s capable to cover nearly 185km in five hours.
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle:
An Insitu product, the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle is a drone which was developed on the theme of Insitu SeaScan. ScanEagle is enriched with an infrared camera along with integrated communication system. For its launch, an Insitu patent launcher is required, which is known as “Superwedge” launcher. This UAV was introduced in 2005 but with the ongoing technology, it experienced few amendments. On 18th March 2008, this aircraft was boosted with ImSAR’s NanoSAR A radar and was then successfully test fired.
AAI RQ-7 Shadow:
This UAS is a tactical drone which was made for ground military forces. It is majorly used by the US Army, Australian army and Swedish army. This drone was developed after the US army dis-armed Alliant RQ-6 Outrider aircraft. AAI Corporation on the development concept of RQ-2 Pioneer and additional functionalities of Shadow 200, come out with a result as RQ-7 Shadow. The aircraft is installed with the AR741-1101 Wankel engine which capable to deliver maximum power of 38bhp. Its take off is executed by the catapult. Initialized its first flight in 1991, this drone was added to the military team in 2002. Its production and use are both in active phase.
Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack:
Known as Integrator, this Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack was also operated by VMU-2. It was initially the drone was allotted to the US Navy on their request for small tactical UAV. This aircraft gives the same recovery system as in ScanEagle. It is one of the recent drones, which are introduced in the US Marine corps. With its first flight in July 2012, it was handed over to the US Navy in April 2014.
So, these are few of the unmanned warriors of VMU-2 which have showcased their power in the battlefield along with the soldiers. Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 is expecting more advancement in its existing drones and wants them to reach more heights in the coming era.
For details knowledge about VMU-2, Click here.