The FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., forged a cooperative research and development agreement with Bingen, Wash.-based Insitu and the New Jersey Air National Guard to study unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and to address their integration into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Derivatives of the ScanEagle UAV are proliferating, as Boeing exploits its ownership of Insitu, the company that originally designed it for commercial applications. At the Navy League convention, Boeing Phantom Works unveiled the MagEagle, a UAV equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).
Singapore last year joined the expanding list of countries that have tested and/or introduced the ScanEagle, a UAV that was designed in the 1990s as a maritime monitoring tool that could be launched and recovered by fishing ships. The world being a dangerous place, military surveillance applications have long since become the staple diet for the makers, Insitu.
What makes the ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle on display here this week different from the multitude of similar robot airplanes being touted for surveillance today? First, its endurance/payload combination is unmatched for a vehicle of its size, according to Boeing. Second, it is the first small UAV to have an inertially stabilized sensor turret. Third, it has already proved itself in combat, having flown more than 9,000 hours with the U.S.