Scan Eagle UAS: Aircraft profile

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The Scan Eagle Small Unmanned Aircraft System or UAS provides real-time direct situational awareness and force protection information for Air Force security forces expeditionary teams.

Scan Eagle UAV: A Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System launches from a catapult. (U.S. Air Force photo)Scan Eagle UAV: A Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System launches from a catapult. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Scan Eagle falls into the class of Air Force small UAS known as multi-mission UAS.

Features

The Scan Eagle UAS is a portable system, which features three air vehicles or AVs, a ground control station, remote video terminal, and a launch and recovery system known as the Skyhook system. Two specially trained Airmen operate the Scan Eagle UAS. The system is launched by a catapult, and retrieved by the Skyhook system which uses a hook on the edge of the wingtip to catch a rope hanging from a 30- to 50-foot pole.

The AV is autonomously controlled and can interchange several payloads depending on the need. Currently the system includes a color electro-optical camera and an infrared camera for night operations. The Scan Eagle's long endurance allows it to monitor key positions for extended periods of time.

Scan Eagle UAV launch: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Kropiewnicki, center, launches a Boeing Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle during exercise Desert Talon 2-06 on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., June 16, 2006. Kropiewnicki is a combat videographer with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera. DoD photo by Sgt. Guadalupe M. Deanda III, U.S. Marine Corps.Scan Eagle UAV launch: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Kropiewnicki, center, launches a Boeing Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle during exercise Desert Talon 2-06 on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., June 16, 2006. Kropiewnicki is a combat videographer with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera. DoD photo by Sgt. Guadalupe M. Deanda III, U.S. Marine Corps.

Background

In 2004, the U.S. Marine Corps contracted Boeing to provide services support to protect Marines deployed in Iraq. This system was successful in saving lives and has flown more than 5,000 combat hours supporting ground and air forces in theater. In 2005, the Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Battlelab demonstrated that the Scan Eagle could support the protect mission for security forces. The Air Force purchased one Scan Eagle system using the Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Program in late 2006.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Situational awareness and protection

Contractor: Boeing, Inc. and Insitu Group
Power Plant: 3W 2-stroke piston engine; 1.5 horsepower
Wingspan: 10.2 feet (3.1 meters)
Length: 3.9 feet (1.19 meters)
Weight: 39.7 lbs (18 kilograms)
Speed: 50-100 mph (43-87 knots)
Endurance: 19 + hours
Operating Altitude: 16,000 feet air ground level (4876 meters)
System Cost: $3.2 million (2006 dollars)
Payload: High resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager
Inventory: Active force, 1

Source: US Air Force

Scan Eagle UAV: A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launches from a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher Aug. 23, 2006, on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan (LHA 2), which is under way in the Atlantic Ocean. Scan Eagle is a UAV system designed to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, battle damage assessment and communications relay. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick W. Mullen III, U.S. Navy.Scan Eagle UAV: A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launches from a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher Aug. 23, 2006, on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan (LHA 2), which is under way in the Atlantic Ocean. Scan Eagle is a UAV system designed to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, battle damage assessment and communications relay. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick W. Mullen III, U.S. Navy.

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

ScanEagle is a low cost, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Boeing and Insitu.

Design and development

ScanEagle is a descendant of another Insitu UAV, SeaScan, which was conceived of as a remote sensor for collecting weather data as well as helping commercial fishermen locate and track schools of tuna. ScanEagle emerged as the result of a strategic alliance between Boeing and Insitu. The resulting technology has been successful as a portable Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for autonomous surveillance in the battlefield, and has been deployed since August 2004 in the Iraq War.

ScanEagle carries an inertially stabilized electro-optical and/or infrared camera on a light-weight inertially stabilized turret system integrated with communications range over 100 km, and flight endurance of 20+ hours. ScanEagle has a 10-foot (3 m) wingspan and can fly up to 75 knots (139 km/h). Block D aircraft featured a higher resolution camera, a custom-designed Mode C transponder and a new video system. A Block D aircraft, flying at Boeing's test range in Boardman, Oregon set a type endurance record of 22 hours, 8 minutes.

ScanEagle needs no airfield to deploy. Instead, it is launched using a pneumatic launcher designed as part of a university engineering design project, now patented by Insitu as the "SuperWedge" launcher. It is recovered using the "SkyHook" retrieval system, which uses a hook on the end of the wingtip to catch a rope hanging from a 30 to 50-foot (15 m) pole. This is made possible by a high-quality differential GPS units mounted on the top of the pole and UAV. The rope is attached to a shockcord to reduce stress on the airframe imposed by the violent stop.

Scan Eagle UAV: A Boeing Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is retrieved with a skyhook, a small suspended rope that catches the UAV out of mid-air, during the training exercise Desert Talon 2-06 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., June 16, 2006. The Scan Eagle UAV is a small GPS-guided spy plane that can fly over a designated battle space for up to 15 hours and transmit real-time imagery directly to its home link. Weighing in at 40 pounds with a ten-foot wingspan, it is invisible to radar and is barely audible once within 50 feet. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Guadalupe M. Deanda III)Scan Eagle UAV: A Boeing Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is retrieved with a skyhook, a small suspended rope that catches the UAV out of mid-air, during the training exercise Desert Talon 2-06 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., June 16, 2006. The Scan Eagle UAV is a small GPS-guided spy plane that can fly over a designated battle space for up to 15 hours and transmit real-time imagery directly to its home link. Weighing in at 40 pounds with a ten-foot wingspan, it is invisible to radar and is barely audible once within 50 feet. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Guadalupe M. Deanda III)

Operational history

The ScanEagle entered service with the U.S. Navy in 2005. In addition to the United States military, the Australian Army also operates the ScanEagle UAV. As well the Canadian Government announced in August 2008 that they would lease the ScanEagle for use of their military operations in Afghanistan.

On 18 March 2008 Boeing, with ImSAR and Insitu successfully flight-tested a ScanEagle with a Nano-SAR radar mounted aboard. The Nano-SAR is the world's smallest Synthetic Aperture Radar, weighs two pounds and is roughly the size of a shoe box. It is designed to provide high quality real-time ground imaging through adverse weather conditions or other battlefield obsurants.

More photos: Scan Eagle UAV photo gallery

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