ST. LOUIS, Jan. 07, 2009 -- The ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a joint effort of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Insitu Inc., this week completed its 1,500th shipboard sortie in service with the U.S. Navy. ScanEagle has provided persistent, cost-effective intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to the Navy since July 2005.
The Navy has used ScanEagle aboard a variety of ships -- ranging from the destroyer USS Mahan to the amphibious vessel USS Whidbey Island -- as well as on support ships and small combatant craft. In addition, ScanEagle serves with other U.S. forces and with international customers in various theaters around the world.
"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 easy to operate for our sailors,"said Don Iverson, ScanEagle U.S. Navy program manager for Boeing. "These 1,500 safe shipboard recoveries, along with numerous operational reports from our customers, show that ScanEagle has established itself as a critical capability for naval operations 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 tower. The system makes ScanEagle runway-independent and minimizes its impact on shipboard operations, similar to a vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle.