ScanEagle, a fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Insitu, Inc., has surpassed 1,000 flight hours in support of Australian Army operations in southern Iraq.
Operating with the Overwatch Battle Group (West)-2 on Operation Catalyst, ScanEagle has successfully completed 172 sorties in less than five months. ScanEagle provides live imagery to Australian soldiers operating from Camp Terendak, Ali Air Base in the Dhi Qar province. This imagery is a key force protection asset for soldiers as they support Iraqi Security Force efforts in restoring security and stability in the region.
"This important combat milestone is a testament to the reliability of the long-endurance and stealthy operation of the ScanEagle UAV platform," said Boeing Australia Limited President David Withers. "It also is a direct reflection of the effectiveness of the high performance reconnaissance and surveillance services provided on the ground by Boeing Australia in partnership with the Australian Army."
"Insitu is thoroughly pleased with ScanEagle's accomplishment of 1,000 flight hours in support of the Australia Defence Force," said Dr. Steve Sliwa, Insitu president and CEO. "Our ultimate goal is to provide technology that delivers top-notch intelligence to our customers. We take pride that the information ScanEagle gathers is used to protect troops on the ground from danger on a daily basis."
ScanEagle, which is four feet (1.2 meters) long with a 10-foot (3 meters) wingspan, carries either an electro-optical or an infrared camera. Both are inertially stabilized. The gimbaled camera allows the operator to easily track stationary and moving targets, including enemy combatants, vehicles, roads, buildings and other hot spots.
For a vehicle of its size, ScanEagle's combination of endurance and payload is unmatched. The system can provide more than 15 consecutive hours of "on-station" coverage, and can be launched and recovered from land or sea, providing greater flexibility than other systems in its class.
ScanEagle is launched autonomously via a pneumatic wedge catapult and flies pre-programmed or operator-initiated missions guided by GPS and its onboard flight control system. It is retrieved using a "Skyhook" system in which the UAV catches a rope hanging from a 50-foot (15 meters) high pole. The patented system allows ScanEagle to be runway-independent and operate from rough terrain or ships.
Insitu, Inc., located in Bingen, Wash., develops miniature robotic aircraft for commercial and military applications. Insitu introduced the first UAV to cross the Atlantic Ocean and is developing vehicles for civilian applications. For more information about the company, see www.insitu.com
Boeing Australia Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary that reports to Boeing International Support Systems, is a high-technology aerospace company specializing in installation and support of systems for defence and commercial customers.
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. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.4 billion business with 72,000 employees worldwide.