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ScanEagle flies for NATO

Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:10 AM

BINGEN, Wash., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Insitu Inc.'s ScanEagle unmanned aerial system is being flown from a U.S. Navy ship in support of NATO's military action over Libya, the Boeing subsidiary said.

During a 72-hour counter-terrorism surge supporting Operation Unified Protector, the ScanEagle UAS was operated from the USS Mahan to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in strong wind conditions.

"What happened over that period of time, no one expected," said ScanEagle Detachment Officer in Charge Lt. Nick Townsend. "ScanEagle was locating contacts of interest that no one else could find. After the dust settled, ScanEagle was credited with locating a host of contacts of interest due to its ability to capture superior image quality and to operate covertly at relatively low altitudes."

Insitu said ScanEagle imagery was delivered by secure networked channels from the ship to the task force through the Secure Video Injection system provided by Insitu parent, Boeing, giving decision makers the rapid, near real-time video needed to make quick, tactical decisions.

Later coordinating with an AWACS team, the USS Mahan ScanEagle team drew on ScanEagle's 24-hour endurance to support additional phases of the mission, including battle damage assessment.

ScanEagle delivered real-time, full-color imagery that was used to improve overall battlefield awareness and mission effectiveness. Townsend described ScanEagle as providing "shockingly effective combat support."

ScanEagle contract services through Insitu have a proven track record, maintaining a 99 percent mission-readiness rate and the ability to respond to time-sensitive, unplanned tasking within 30 minutes of notification. On this deployment -- ScanEagle's second aboard USS Mahan -- the team achieved a 100 percent mission-readiness rate, accruing 1,154 flight hours and 167 sorties.

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