The ScanEagle unmanned aircraft (UA), a joint effort of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Insitu Inc., this month logged a pair of service milestones as it surpassed 50,000 combat flight hours with the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) in Iraq and 1,000 shipboard recoveries with the U.S. Navy.
The long-endurance, fully autonomous ScanEagle entered service with the Marines in July 2004 and provides cost-effective and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services. The Navy has used ScanEagle since July 2005 aboard the USNS Stockham, USS Whidbey Island, USS Oscar Austin, USS Oak Hill and the USS Carter Hall.
“Tens of thousands of flight hours for the Marines demonstrate the maturity and reliability of the ScanEagle system,” said Jim Havard, Boeing ScanEagle U.S Marine Corps program manager. “The system also is providing the MEF with a powerful and versatile capability ranging from convoy protection and surveillance to base security.”
Don Iverson, Boeing ScanEagle U.S. Navy program manager, added, “During more than 1,000 shipboard recoveries, the safety record of the ScanEagle system has been outstanding. There have been no injuries to personnel or damage to any of the ships deploying the system.”
A ScanEagle UA carries inertially stabilized electro-optical and infrared cameras. The gimbaled cameras allow the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets. Capable of flying above 16,000 feet and loitering over the battlefield for more than 24 hours, the platform provides persistent low-altitude reconnaissance.
ScanEagle is launched autonomously via a pneumatic SuperWedge™ catapult launcher and flies preprogrammed or operator-initiated missions. An Insitu-patented SkyHook™ system is used for retrieval—the aircraft catches a rope suspended from a 50-foot-high tower. The patented system makes the ScanEagle system runway-independent, with a small footprint similar to that needed for vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
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