Scan Eagle Proved Worth Over Libya, Maker Insitu Says

 - September 19, 2011, 4:40 AM
A Scan Eagle skirts the water after launch from a U.S. Navy warship. The UAV was employed to great effect over Libya, according to Insitu. (Photo: Insitu)

The use of another UAV over Libya during NATO Operation Unified protector was revealed, when Insitu stated that the Scan Eagle system was employed. Launched and recovered by the U.S. Navy destroyer Mahan, the Scan Eagle provided video imagery over three days and located “contacts of interest that no one else could find,” according to ships’ officer Lt. Nick Townsend, as quoted by Insitu.

The Scan Eagle is a small-class UAV that Insitu provides to the U.S. Navy on a service contract basis. “It can operate covertly at relatively low altitudes,” Townsend added. The imagery was relayed from the UAV to the ship, and from there to the NATO command center by the secure video injection system provided by Boeing, Insitu’s parent company. 

Insitu made its first sale in Europe last year when Poland signed a $7.2 million contract for 10 Scan Eagle systems. Ryan Hartman, senior vice president for business development, told AIN that Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are all interested in the autonomously controlled Scan Eagle or its larger brother, the Integrator.

The U.S. Navy last year selected the Integrator to meet its small tactical UAS requirement as the RQ-21A. The critical design review will take place within the next quarter, Hartman reported. Meanwhile, though, the Navy and the Marine Corps have each requested two Integrator systems in advance of the formal RQ-21A acquisition process.