Dutch use ScanEagle in counter-piracy ops

Aug. 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The ScanEagle unmanned aerial system by Insitu of the United States is flying over the Gulf of Aden for Dutch military forces.

The aircraft flew nine hours over the gulf recently as part of NATO's counter-piracy operations and was from the amphibious transport ship HNMS Rotterdam.

The UAS was operated by a 19-member Dutch army team, which was made up of specialists of the Joint Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Commando.

"Our job is to provide the commander with information and intelligence to support the preparation and execution of the mission," said Maj. Chris Sievers, commander of the team.

The Netherland's Ministry of Defense said ScanEagle surveilled a number of unknown ships to detect and investigate possible pirate activity. It said the craft performed well despite an air temperature of about 113 degrees Fahrenheit at the time.

ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance aircraft. It is 3.9 feet long, has a wingspan of 10.2 feet and weighs less than 40 pounds. Its operating speed is as much as 80 miles per hour and it carries a payload of a high resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager.

The UAS is launched by catapult.

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