The Boeing [NYSE: BA] ScanEagle will become the first fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to fly at a European public air show, when it takes to the skies at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, July 16 - 17.
The aircraft will be flying a simulated search and rescue scenario designed to demonstrate ScanEagle's broad capabilities, including the transfer of real-time images to ground stations. During ScanEagle's flights, spectators will be able to observe the terrain as seen though the UAV's electro-optical camera.
ScanEagle's combination of small size, endurance and payload is unmatched. The UAV can remain on station for more than 15 hours. Though c apable of flying above 16,000 feet, as part of the search and rescue scenario, ScanEagle will be demonstrating its ability to provide persistent low-altitude reconnaissance. As standard payload, the UAV carries either an electro-optical or an infrared camera.
Steve Krause, who leads international and domestic security programs for Boeing Unmanned Systems said, "This British aviation first illustrates how relatively low-cost unmanned systems can increase military effectiveness and save lives. The RIAT demonstration is the result of tremendous cooperation among the civil aviation authorities and the Ministry of Defence who are doing everything possible to provide the best available kit to the forces."
ScanEagle will be launched via a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher and fly its search and rescue mission scenario using its Global Positioning System (GPS), and its onboard flight-controls. It will be retrieved using a patented "Skyhook" system, which allows ScanEagle to be runway independent and operate from forward fields, mobile vehicles or small ships. Another key design feature of ScanEagle is its internal avionics bay. The avionics bay allows seamless integration of new payloads and sensors to meet emerging customer requirements, to ensure the latest technological advances can be incorporated.
ScanEagle, which made its first flight in 2002 was developed and built by Boeing and The Insitu Group as a low-cost, long-endurance autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle. ScanEagle is based on Insitu's Seascan miniature robotic aircraft and draws on Boeing systems integration, communications and payload technologies. The Boeing ScanEagle supports the UK Ministry of Defence's Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (JUEP), through an industry team that includes Thales, QinetiQ and The Boeing Company.