Insitu has won a $6.9 million contract from US navy to adapt the Cosworth AG heavy fuel engine for the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
According to the Naval Air Systems Command contract, Boeing’s subsidiary Insitu has to conduct technical studies, conceptual design modifications and engineering development to install the Cosworth AG into the company’s RQ-21A, which is in production for the Marine Corps and Navy, the Sea Power Magazine reported Monday.
The Blackjack currently uses an 8-horsepower reciprocating engine that uses the same JP-5 and JP-8 jet fuel used by military aircraft, as well as ships powered by gas turbine engines.
The Cosworth AG is a heavy fuel engine that can use diesel fuel in addition to JP-5 and JP-8. The engine uses fuel injection adapted from the automotive industry.
The Navy flew the engine on an Ultra UAV in 2010 for future use in the Blackjack, then known under the program name of Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System. The RQ-21A is being fielded in Marine unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons and for Navy shipboard use.
Two RQ-21As will be modified with the Cosworth engine for testing.