Published November 01, 2007
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. The Scan Eagle is a Group 2 Small UAS.
The Scan Eagle UAS is a portable system, which features four 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 with two additional maintenance personnel. 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. It requires no runway for launch or recovery.
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, silently without being observed.
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 456,000 combat hours and 57,000 sorties supporting ground and air forces in theater. In 2005, the Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Battlelab demonstrated the military utility of the Scan Eagle to support the protect mission for security forces. The Air Force purchased one Scan Eagle system using the Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Program in late 2006 and deployed it to Iraq to support Security Forces. The system is currently assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command.
Primary Function: Reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition
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: 55-80 mph
Endurance: 20 + hours
Operating Altitude: 16,000 feet air ground level (4,876 meters)
System Cost: approximately $3.2 million (2006 dollars)
Payload: High resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager
Inventory: Active force, 1 system