Thailand officially received the US Navy's RQ-21A Blackjack UAV

Thailand officially received the US Navy's RQ-21A Blackjack UAV
Thailand officially received the US Navy's RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial system

On May 24, 2022, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) received its first RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial UAV from the US Navy. A ceremony was held in Bangkok, with Commander US 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas attending. The new RQ-21A Blackjack UAS will be assigned to the RTN Air Division's 104 Air Squadron, Wing 1.


The RQ-21A Blackjack UAS was funded by the US government's Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) program to provide improved maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the RTN. 
Aside from maritime security missions, the Royal Thai Navy can use them for search and rescue operations and prevention of drug smuggling and human trafficking. 
It will also improve interoperability between the United States and the Royal Thai Navy. 
The entire system consists of five RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs, two ground stations, launch and recovery equipment, and in-residence training for operators and maintenance crew in the United States. 
The program also includes technical advisers from the United States to assist the Royal Thai Navy with system operations and maintenance. 
The RQ-21A Blackjack UAV has a range of 50 nautical miles, a top speed of 60 nautical miles per hour, and a battery life of approximately 16 hours.