U.S. Navy formally hands over unmanned aircraft system to the Royal Thai Navy

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Gulf of Thailand – Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas presided over a ceremony to officially hand over the RQ-21A Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy on May 24. The RQ-21A Blackjack is an unmanned and unarmed aircraft system designed for maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. With a range of 50 nautical miles, a speed of 60 nautical miles per hour, and an endurance of 16 hours, the RQ-21A Blackjack will enhance Thailand’s maritime security capabilities for search and rescue operations, and drug and human trafficking interdiction. It will also advance the interoperability of our navies.

Funded via the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), the Royal Thai Navy program includes five aircraft, two ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and in-residence training in the United States. The program also includes technical advisors to assist the Royal Thai Navy with operations and maintenance of the system.

The U.S.-Thai alliance ensures a free and open Indo-Pacific that is vital to regional peace, security, and stability.