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Boeing Insitu ScanEagle - United States (2005)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Reconnaissance Drone.

 Entry last updated on 8/29/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Boeing Insitu ScanEagle  
Picture of Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Reconnaissance Drone

The Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drone has already proven its worth over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq with over 10,000 hours of flying time recorded.

The ScanEagle is a joint production UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) by The Boeing Company and The Insitu Group. As a whole, the program is based highly on the Insitu SeaScan UAV aircraft but coupled with Boeing's expertise in the field of aircraft systems engineering. The ScanEagle has already posted over 10,000 hours of real-world flight time and has proven itself to be billed as advertised. The ScanEagle is charged with all-weather remote reconnaissance and target tracking with exception loitering capabilities.

The ScanEagle can be fitted with either infrared or electro-optical type cameras. Situations are presented and reported in real time and the system is capable of over 48 hours of flight time. Launching is achieved autonomously from a catapult system. Landing is achieved through a "skyhook" approach - a practice which has the ScanEagle catch a rope mounted to a 50-foot high pole at a designated position.

The Boeing product represents a low-cost solution to a potentially regarding need. The ScanEagle was designed from the outset to be operated from ocean-going ships meaning that the proven catapult and hook retrieval systems are just what the doctor ordered. The diminutive size also lends in allowing the system to be stored away aboard navy ships that already deal with limited spacing. First flight of the ScanEagle occurred in 2002 and the system is still going strong, being fielded with the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy in support of operations in Iraq.

After capture of several Boeing ScanEagle drones by Iran during the heavy U.S. involvement in neighboring Iraq, ScanEagle systems have been reverse-engineered by the Islamic nation and assembly lines arranged to mass produce the American product illegally for the Iranian Air Force and Navy.

The global operator list for ScanEagle has grown considerably over the years with users going far beyond American shores. This list includes Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and others. In an effort to help Gulf ally Yemen deal with internal and external threats, Yemen has been a recipient of the American product as well.

Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Specifications

Service Year: 2005
Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Reconnaissance Drone
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): Boeing Corporation - USA
Total Production: 1,000

Operating Crew, Dimensions and Operating Weights

Operating Crew (Typical): None
Overall Width: 10.01 feet (3.05 meters)
Weight (Empty): 37 lb (17 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 49 lb (22 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Engine: 1 x Orbital 3W 2-stroke piston engine developing 1.5 horsepower while driving two-bladed propeller in pusher configuration.

Maximum Speed: 92 miles-per-hour (148 kilometers-per-hour; 80 knots)
Maximum Range: 342 miles (550 kilometers; 297 nautical miles)
Service Ceiling: 19,685 feet (6,000 meters; 3.73 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

None. Mission load centering on optics and sensors.

Global Operators (A-to-Z)

Australia; Canada; Colombia; Iran; Italy; Japan; Malaysia; Netherlands; Philippines; Poland; Romania; Singapore; Spain; Singapore; Tunisia; United Kingdom; United States; Yemen

Series Model Variants

ScanEagle - Base Series Designation
ScanEagle A - Initial Production Variant