Two new, powerful gadgets were added with the China Rising DLC for Battlefield 4 – the UCAV and the SUAV.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to unlock them and most effectively use them.
First, you’ll need the China Rising DLC. This may have come with your copy of BF4 when you bought it new. If not, you’ll need BF4 Premium or to purchase the DLC separately.
The UCAV and SUAV are both unlocked through assignments. Like most of the new assignments, you’ll need to spend some time with new China Rising features to get them.
To unlock the UCAV:
Complete the assignment Eyes in the Sky
Air Superiority Ribbon x1 (win 1 round of Air Superiority game mode)
Jet Fighter Ribbon x3 (kill 5 enemies using a jet in one round)
Here’s the best way to knock this assignment out.
- Find a server running the new Air Superiority game mode
- Make sure the map is set to Altai Range, Silk Road, or Dragon Pass (jet only maps)
- Choose a high ticket count server to make it easier to get 5+ kills per round, if you can find one
- Play on a “hardcore” server so enemy jets require less damage to kill
- If you’re not experienced with jets, focus on finishing off damaged jets (those that are leaving a smoke trail)
- The ribbon for winning a round should come with time. To speed it up, you can focus on capturing objectives by circling them to help your team win, since many players don’t focus on the control points
Once you have these ribbons, the UCAV with be an available unlock for the Support class.
UCAV stands for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. It’s basically a small airplane fired upward out of a tube which you place on the ground. It can damage aircraft, armor, and infantry, making it very versatile.
- Lead your target when you launch the UCAV. Aim the tube where you expect your enemy to be by the time it flies to the target.
- Once it’s deployed, you have 10 seconds of flight, as shown by the indicator bar in the lower right. This usually doesn’t give you enough time to turn around, so try to hit your target on the first pass.
- Drop an ammo box if you want to replace the UCAV after you’ve fired it. Resupplying takes 90 seconds (increased from 20 seconds in the December 16th patch). Sometimes it doesn’t reload until you respawn, which is likely a bug.
- Wide open maps such as Silk Road suit the UCAV well since there are fewer objects to accidentally collide with.
- If you’re lining up for a vehicle or soldiers on the ground, be sure to launch the UCAV from far away (about 150m) to give yourself plenty of time to aim it back to the ground.
- The UCAV will do 50 damage to armor and aircraft along with disabling them. Use this to slow down enemy attackers.
- Enemy infantry can be killed in one hit from the UCAV. It can be very effective at clearing rooftops such as in Siege of Shanghai. If multiple enemies are grouped close together, aim to the middle of the group.
- The UCAV will of course detonate when it hits something, but you can also detonate it at any time you choose. This is helpful if you’re about to pass by your target without hitting it directly. You can do this by exiting the UCAV at just the right time, or by clicking the fire button if you have the UCAV Airburst unlocked. Read on for more info.
Unlocking the UCAV Airburst
The airburst allows you to detonate the UCAV in mid-air, and requires completing an additional assignment once you have the UCAV.
Complete the Assignment I’m Dynamite
Bomber Delivery Ribbon x3 (kill 3 players in one round with a bombing run)
Get 20 UCAV kills
Score a multikill
This assignment can be tricky due to the bombing run requirement. The good news is, on the way to earning this assignment you’ll unlock the SUAV. Also, remember that you can detonate the UCAV in midair by simply exiting it, so the airburst unlock isn’t really that important.
That said, if you want to complete the I’m Dynamite assignment, you’ll need a lot of bombing raid kills.
Bombing Raids are featured in the China Rising maps on Conquest mode. Near the centermost control point of the map (usually C or D), you’ll find a trailer as pictured below. If the bomber is available, you’ll see a white image of a bomber in front of the trailer.
You can start a bombing raid even if the enemy controls the nearby point. Once you start a bombing run, you cannot be killed and you can even capture or hold control points from inside. Just watch out when you get done, because an enemy may be waiting for you to pop out of the trailer.
Once you’re in the bomber, you can spot enemies to help you aim. Click the fire button to mark your target. You will get 4 bombs between reloads. The bombs take several seconds to reach the target, so it’s best to look for enemies that aren’t on the move, such as snipers or vehicles capturing control points. If you don’t wait too long to fire, you can reload twice on a bombing run for a total of 12 bombs.
Unlocking the SUAV
With your first bombing raid kill, you’ll complete the Safe Raiding assignment, since its only requirement is get a kill with the bombing raid.
The SUAV is a Recon class unlock. It stands for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. It’s similar to a MAV, but much more capable.
- Launch the SUAV from somewhere that you have cover, since you’ll be unable to defend yourself during flight.
- Spot all enemies you see to help teammates kill them and to earn you spotting points.
- Aim the SUAV at vehicles for a few seconds to laser designate them. Teammates will often lock on and hit designated targets, earning you extra points.
- The SUAV can roadkill enemies. To most effectively score a roadkill, aim right for your enemy’s crotch. Yep, the crotch. Aiming for the chest or head usually won’t score you a kill. If an enemy is prone, try to pass through the full length of their body to have the best success. As of the December 16th patch, the SUAV will be destroyed when it hits an enemy.
- The SUAV can fly for 60 seconds at a time. You can keep an eye on how much time is left with the bar that’s displayed near the lower right of the HUD.
- As with the UCAV, flying the SUAV on wide open maps will make it easier to find targets and avoid unintended collisions.
- Ammo boxes can resupply the SUAV in just a couple of seconds.
Aim here for a roadkill. Note the flight time remaining indicator at the lower right.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Though there have been a lot of complaints that the UCAV and SUAV are cheap or overpowered since they’re remotely operated and hard to stop, they’re a part of the game. It’s best to learn how to use them effectively in the right situations, as well as how to avoid getting killed by them.
If you come up against an enemy team with a lot of UCAV’s and SUAV’s, just try to keep moving and use cover as much as possible. Remember that an aerial vehicle user has to stay put to fly it, so that’s one less person to defend an MCOM or capture a control point. Use the kill cam to find the operator’s location if they’re really causing a problem and you’re looking to seek revenge.
The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack, formerly called the Integrator, is an American unmanned air vehicle designed and built by Boeing Insitu to meet a United States Navy requirement for a small tactical unmanned air system (STUAS). It is a twin-boom, single-engine, monoplane, designed as a supplement to the Boeing Scan Eagle. The Integrator weighs 61 kg (135 lb) and uses the same launcher and recovery system as the Scan Eagle.
The RQ-21 was selected in June 2010 over the Raytheon Killer Bee, AAI Aerosonde, and General Dynamics/Elbit Systems Storm.
The RQ-21A Integrator first flew on 28 July 2012. On 10 September 2012, the Integrator entered developmental testing with a 66-minute flight. The Navy launched one using a pneumatic launcher and a recovery system known as Skyhook. This eliminates the need for runways and enables a safe recovery and expeditionary capability for tactical missions on land or sea. At the current testing rate, Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was expected in 2013.
On 10 February 2013, the Integrator completed its first at-sea flight from the USS Mesa Verde, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. This followed completing three months of land-based flights.
On 19 February 2013, Insitu completed the first flight of the RQ-21A Block II. It weighs 121 lb and flew for 2 hours. It was controlled by a new ground control system meant to integrate dissimilar UAV systems. The Block II has the sensor from the Nighteagle, the night version of the ScanEagle, and is designed to operate in high-temperature environments.
On 15 May 2013, the Department of the Navy announced that the RQ-21A Integrator received Milestone C approval authorizing the start of low rate initial production. With Milestone C approval, the Integrator entered production and deployment.
On 12 June 2013, the RQ-21A completed its first East Coast flight from Webster Field Annex, starting the next phase of tests for the Integrator. The UAV was launched with a pneumatic launcher, flew for 1.8 hours, and was recovered with an Insitu-built system known as the STUAS Recovery System (SRS), which allows safe recovery of the STUAS on land or at sea. This phase of testing was to validate updates made to the aircraft which include software, fuselage, and camera enhancements. The Integrator was test flown at lower density altitudes. Integrated Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) was scheduled for October 2013.
In September 2013, the Integrator was renamed the RQ-21A Blackjack. On 28 November 2013, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu an $8.8 million contract for one low-rate production aircraft in preparation for full-rate production.
In January 2014, the first low-rate production RQ-21A Blackjack began IOT&E for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Testing was conducted over the next several months to demonstrate its effectiveness in realistic combat conditions. The Navy ordered three Blackjack systems in December 2014. By July 2015, the Navy had received two Blackjack systems.
In 2013, 2014, and 2015 the OSD issued program review reports on the RQ-21A. These reports sited quality and system capability issues that resulted in the system being described as not operationally effective, and missing the mark on several key requirements. These shortcomings have significanlty increased the program's allocation of available funding to engineering, rather than production.
The RQ-21A Blackjack is designed to support the U.S. Marine Corps by providing forward reconnaissance. A Blackjack system is composed of five air vehicles and two ground control systems. The air vehicles can be launched on land or on a ship by a rail and land using a "skyhook" recovery system, where a vertical wire must be hooked onto its wing; when on the ground, the launch and recovery systems are towable by vehicles. Its wingspan is 16 ft (4.9 m) and it can carry a 39 lb (18 kg) payload. The day/night camera can achieve resolution rating of 7 on the NIIRS scale at 8,000 ft (2,400 m).
The Marines are working with Insitu to modify the Blackjack fuselage to carry greater and more various payloads. Enlarging the fuselage would increase its maximum takeoff weight from 135 lb (61 kg) to 145 lb (66 kg) and lengthen endurance from 16 hours to 24 hours. New turrets are being explored as well as other payloads including a synthetic aperture radar to track ground targets, a laser designator to mark targets for precision-guided munitions, and foliage-penetration capabilities for foreign customers operating in lush environments. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) plans to add a sensor to the Blackjack that combines an electro-optical camera, wide area imager, short wave infrared hyperspectral imager, and a high-resolution camera for use as an inspection sensor into a single payload by 2020.
The U.S. Marine Corps deployed its first RQ-21A Blackjack system to Afghanistan in late April 2014. One Blackjack system is composed of five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery support equipment. It supports intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions using multi-intelligence payloads including day and night full-motion video cameras, an infrared marker, a laser range finder, a communications relay package, and automatic identification system receivers. The models in Afghanistan were early operational capability (EOC) aircraft without shipboard software or testing. Deploying the aircraft on the ground was a method to detect and fix problems early to avoid delaying the project. The RQ-21 returned from its deployment on 10 September 2014 after flying nearly 1,000 hours in 119 days in theater. EOC Blackjacks will continue to be used for training, while completion of shipboard testing is planned to result in the system's first ship-based deployment in spring 2015.
The Marine Corps declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the RQ-21A Blackjack in January 2016. During the summer of 2016, MARSOC deployed the RQ-21A to Iraq.
Full rate productions of the RQ-21A has been delayed because of serious system quality issues. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) issued reviews on the program in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The 2015 report indicates that many of these issues have not been resolved, despite OSD reporting issues in previous years. The 2015 report stated that the RQ-21A was "not operationally effective", "not operationally suitable", that the "system has exploitable cyber security vulnerabilities, and the overall assessment pointed out several major requirements failures. One RQ-21A was reported shot down over Tartus, Syria on May 27,2017. 
- United States
An unidentified Middle Eastern customer purchased six systems.
Data from Product Page
- Length: 8.2 ft (2.5 m)
- Wingspan: 16 ft (4.9 m)
- Empty weight: 81 lb (37 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 135 lb (61 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × EFI Piston Engine, 8 hp (6.0 kW)
- Propellers: 2-bladed
- Maximum speed: 86 mph (138 km/h; 75 kn)
- Cruise speed: 63 mph (101 km/h; 55 kn)
- Range: 58 mi; 93 km (50 nmi)
- Endurance: 16 hours
- Service ceiling: 19,500 ft (5,900 m)
- ^ ab"APPROPRIATION/BUDGET ACTIVITY 1319: Research, Development, Test & Evaluation, Navy BA 7: Operational Systems Development"(PDF). PE 0305234M: (U)RQ-21A (STUASL0). U.S. Navy. February 2012. pp. 1, 3. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- ^ abUnder Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (April 2012). "Department of Defense Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability"(PDF). U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- ^"The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Integrator UAV is expected to reach operational capability in the US military during 2013". Military Factory. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
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- ^ abcdRQ-21A Integrator completes first flight
- ^ abcdefU.S. Marine Corps Explores Extended-Range Blackjack - Aviationweek.com, 12 May 2014
- ^Navy, Marines Begin RQ-21 Developmental Flight Testing - Newsmilitary.com, September 11, 2012
- ^RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System Completes First Ship-Based FlightArchived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. - NAVAIR.Navy.mil, February 12, 2013
- ^Insitu completes RQ-21A Block II first flight - Flightglobal.com, February 19, 2013
- ^Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical UAS Enters Production PhaseArchived 11 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. - NAVAIR.Navy.mil, May 21, 2013
- ^RQ-21A Small UAS Completes First East Coast Flight - Navy.mil, 14 June 2013
- ^Navy buys one Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack UAV in preparation for ramping-up production - sUASNews.com, 29 November 2013
- ^RQ-21A Blackjack begins operational test phaseArchived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. - NAVAIR.Navy.mil, 28 January 2014
- ^US NAVAIR orders three Blackjack UAV systems - Flightglobal.com, 8 January 2015
- ^US Navy purchases six more Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack systems - Flightglobal.com, 30 July 2015
- ^US Navy orders super-sensor for RQ-21 UAS - Flightglobal.com, 14 October 2015
- ^Marines deploy with 1st, unmanned RQ-21A Blackjack system - Asdnews.com, 8 May 2014
- ^Small UAS returns from first operational deployment[permanent dead link] - NAVAIR.Navy.mil, 25 September 2014
- ^United States Marines Corps to procure one hundred UAV Blackjack systems by 2017 - Armyrecognition.com, 22 January 2016
- ^ abMarine Special Operators Fly New Surveillance Drone in Iraq - Military.com, 8 October 2016
- ^http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/nova-scotia/canada-surveillance-drones-military-1.3680290 - CBCNews, July 15, 2016
- ^Article about ScanEagle and RQ-21 - dutchdefencepress.com, Oktober 12, 2012
- ^Jennings, Gareth (8 February 2018). "Poland to acquire Integrator STUAS". IHS Jane's 360. London. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.