Boeing has been awarded a contract by the US Marine Corps to provide two
ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mobile deployment units to the First
Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) deployed in Iraq.
Each ScanEagle mobile deployment unit consists of several UAVs as well as
computers, communication links and ground equipment necessary to provide
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support for ground forces,
in this case I MEF. The launch system consists of a pneumatic wedge catapult
operated autonomously. Recovery operation depends on a Skyhood with the
ScanEagle catching a rope hanging from a 50-ft (approx 15 meters) high pole.
Both, launch and recovery systems, are part of the ScanEagle ground equipment.
The ScanEagle is a low-cost, long endurance, fully autonomous mini-UAV developed
and build by Boeing and the Insitu Group. It provides a clear picture of the
battlefield while loitering above following a pre-programmed path or
operator-initiated mission. The information gathered by the ScanEagle is relayed
to command posts and intelligence centers on the ground.
and Insitu Group are planning the development of a longer endurance ScanEagle
variant expanding the current 15 hours limit to 30 hours or more than 30 hours.
In fact, Boeing and Insitu have been working on improvements allowing ScanEagle
to remain on station for more than 40 hours and to accommodate a wide range of
Since 2002, Boeing and Insitu have been demonstrating ScanEagle's skills in a
wide range of environments. Latest flight tests have included testing at sea and
interoperability with other UAV systems carried out during Joint Forces Command
Forward Look exercises in June 2004.
The US Marine Corps becomes the first military customer for the ScanEagle
low-cost, long endurance UAV system. Since its maiden flight in 2002, Boeing and
Insitu have been working on it marketing its suitability for both
commercial/civil and military markets.
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