Scan Eagle

The ScanEagle® Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a product of Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance autonomous UAS that provides persistent day and night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) for a variety of government and civilian applications from close-support locations, mobile vehicles and small ships. The 10-foot wingspan aircraft is launched autonomously via a catapult launcher and the system’s patented no-nets runway-independent retrieval solution, SkyHook, catches the aircraft by its wingtip with a rope that hangs from a 50-foot-high boom.

Operators command preprogrammed or operator-initiated missions, while global positioning system and an onboard flight computer guide the aircraft. ScanEagle can remain covert and on station for more than 24 hours, and it can be optimized for more than 30-hours endurance.

System design is modular. This results in a reliable, adaptable system. Operations and maintenance are simplified, and field upgrade kits rapidly deliver new capabilities to existing operations.

ScanEagle has provided over seven years of uninterrupted service to U.S. Department of Defense customers. It first deployed in theater under a services contract with the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004, and with the U.S. Navy in 2005.

ScanEagle typically flies in extreme environments, carrying an electro-optic or infrared imager in a gyro-stabilized turret. It can be reconfigured quickly in the field with a variety of options, from a midwave infrared imager to custom communications relay payloads. The avionics bay as well as optional configurations like the blind nose or additional mid bay, allow for a variety of custom configurations.

The prototype ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) was developed and built under a 15-month agreement with The Boeing Company that began in February, 2002. Production, research and development continued under a long-term contract between Insitu and Boeing that began in July 2003.

Dozens of new technologies and upgrades for the ScanEagle system have been fielded in response to the warfighter’s needs. The 2006 introduction of the heavy fuel engine improved logistics and safe as well as system performance. The 2007 introduction of the hush engine reduced acoustic signature. The 2009 introduction of the midwave infrared imager improved imagery, especially at night and in adverse weather condition; and the 2009 introduction of the high-power launcher improved performance at high altitudes, in low-density air.

Other improvements have included the altitude encoding transponder to deconflict airspace with other air traffic, an improved video transmitter systems, ROVER remote video terminal interoperability, improved in-flight fuel measurement systems, automatic identification system (AIS) data reception capabilities for beyond-the-horizon sensing, and compliance with NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4586 specifications.

Today, at any given time, an average of 22 ScanEagle aircraft are in-flight globally.

General Characteristics:
Length 4.5 ft 1.37 m
Wing Span 10.2 ft 3.11 m
Empty Structure Weight 28.8 lbs 13.1 kg
Max Takeoff Weight 44.0 lbs 20.0 kg
Max Horizontal Speed 80 knots 41 m/sec
Cruise Speed 48 knots 25 m/sec
Service Ceiling 119,500 ft 5,944 m
Endurance: 24+ hours
Launch: Pneumatic Catapult
Recovery: Skyhood Wingtip Capture