Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: A-15
Origin: United States of America
Boeing and Insitu, Inc.
Parent System: ScanEagle
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003
Total Production: 77
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Description: The ScanEagle developed in partnership between Boeing and InSitu is a small, low-cost, long endurance, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). ScanEagle evolved from InSitu's Seascan miniature robotic unmanned aircraft. The system is being designed for the military, homeland security and commercial arenas performing surveillance and communication roles.
The ScanEagle can carry an inertially stabilized video camera to quickly track stationary and moving targets. Thanks to its advanced internal avionics bay, other sensors and payloads can be integrated as well. The ScanEagle flies pre-programmed or operator-initiated missions.
It is launched from a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher and flies pre-programmed missions using its built-in GPS. The retrieve operation uses a hook system in which the UAV catches a rope hanging from a 50-foot high pole. This retrieve system enables ScanEagle to operate from forward fields, ground vehicles on the move or small sea vessels.
The flight endurance varies between 15 to more than 40 hours depending on its variant (ScanEagle is in fact a family of UAVs). Currently, the ScanEagle version available for military customers can remain on station for 15 hours.
In July 2004, the US Marine Corps became the first military operator of ScanEagle mini-UAV ordering two mobile deployment units. Each system consists of several UAVs, communication links and the ground equipment (launch catapult and recovery skyhook). The two systems ordered by the US Marines are intended for use by the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) deployed in Iraq.
In August 2004, the ScanEagle completed a 16 hours 45 minutes flight duration marking the longest flight ever conducted by an UAV launched and retrieved at sea. The UAV also performed a flight at night using its infrared camera (CCD-TV for daylight operations) to provide real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
On November 4, 2004, Thales UK, Boeing and QinetiQ were selected by UK MoD for the Maritime Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (JUEV). The three companies will form team JUEV and will fly the ScanEagle UAV in a maritime role to identify the future requirements for maritime UAVs. Future maritime UAVs will provide a networked ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) capability.
On November 11, 2004, Boeing reported that the ScanEagle had surpassed the 1,000 flight hours mark during military operations in Iraq with the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) providing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) information to tactical commanders.
In March 2005, Boeing announced that Insitu Group had demonstrated autonomy software aboard ScanEagle which was intended to enable the aircraft to autonomously map its route while in flight and complete a series of maneuvers. This capability is critical to fly to an area and then locate fixed and moving ground targets without operator input.
The US Navy ordered the ScanEagle UAV system on April 25, 2005. The contract worth $14.5 million was aimed at providing support to the Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESG) were scheduled to be the first mission to benefit from ScanEagle providing persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in the Persian Gulf. In May 2005, the ScanEagle surpassed 3,000 combat flight hours during operations in Iraq conducted by the Marine Corps.
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