ST. LOUIS: The ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a joint effort of The Boeing Company and its subsidiary Insitu Inc., last week flew its 150,000th hour in service with the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces, U.S. Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, Australian Army and Canadian Forces. ScanEagle has provided persistent in-theater intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to the joint forces in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004.
“Flying thousands of hours of ISR support in theater, month after month, requires a high degree of organization and teamwork,” said Maj. Dan Griffiths, VMU-1 contracting officer technical representative, U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces. “The execution of that task falls on the shoulders of the ScanEagle field service representatives in theater. Day in and day out, they do whatever it takes to meet daily requirements.”
Jim Havard, Boeing ISR Services Marine Corps program manager, added, “We’ve learned lessons from our extensive ScanEagle operations that have helped us refine the system into a mature ISR asset that is safe, dependable and satisfies the intelligence requirements of our soldiers and sailors. These 150,000 service hours, along with numerous operational reports from our customers, confirm that ScanEagle has established itself as a critical capability for tactical ISR around the world.”
The long-endurance, fully autonomous ScanEagle UAS carries inertially stabilized electro-optical and infrared cameras that allow the operator to 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 ISR.
ScanEagle is launched autonomously from a pneumatic SuperWedge catapult launcher and flies either preprogrammed or operator-initiated missions. The Insitu-patented SkyHook system is used to retrieve the UAS, capturing it by way of a rope suspended from a 50-foot-high mast. The system makes ScanEagle runway-independent and minimizes its impact on shipboard operations, similar to a vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle.
Insitu Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company located in Bingen, Wash., designs, develops and manufactures unmanned aircraft systems for commercial and military applications. Insitu created the first unmanned aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean, which completed the flight in 1998 on just 1.5 gallons of fuel. Visit www.insitu.com for more information.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.