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MARCH 2014 ISSUE


Invisible Presence
Boeing and Insitu Group-developed ScanEagle and Integrator UAS are in a class of their own
 


ScanEagle

The ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance autonomous unmanned vehicle that has been developed and built by Boeing and the Insitu Group. The Integrator is a multi-mission, long-endurance UA that has the ability to carry custom payloads for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The capabilities of both systems were highlighted at DefExpo 2014 and the capabilities of both systems have been discussed with the Indian Navy. The ScanEagle is currently being used for anti-piracy missions by British, Canadian and Dutch forces. It has demonstrated excellent availability rates in its service with the Australian Navy with 98 per cent availability.

It has also seen operations in Afghanistan, with launches being undertaken at heights in excess of 6,000 feet, the ScanEagle has an operational ceiling of 19,500 feet. In July last year Insitu Pacific expanded its existing Australian Defence Force contract with the Australian Army to include provision of ScanEagle services for trials with the Royal Australian Navy and the recently released Compact Mark 4 Launcher is extending the aircraft’s maritime capabilities by providing a small footprint ground support option. The Scan Eagle fleet also exceeded 600,000 combat flight hours, last year and today, at any given time, an average of 17 ScanEagle’s are in the air across the globe.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has been used for missions ranging from emergency support to mining and oil platform surveillance, though it had made a name for itself as a valuable asset during anti-piracy missions. ScanEagle was part of the highly publicised 2009 rescue mission that freed Captain Richard Phillips, who was being held hostage by Somali pirates. In another important development last year, ScanEagle received restricted category type certification for commercial operations from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), making it the first-ever unmanned aircraft certified for commercial beyond-line-of-site operations. The event marked a fundamental milestone in the planned integration of UAS into US national airspace by 2015.
 
 
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