Boeing Australia Limited to provide ScanEagle UAV to ADF in Afghanistan
By Katherine Ziesing
Boeing Australia Limited has been awarded a $20 million contract to provide ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based services to the Australian Army in Afghanistan.
The deal comes in the wake of the Scaneagle surpassing 1,000 flight hours in support of Australian Army operations in southern Iraq. Operating with the Overwatch Battle Group (West)-2 on Operation Catalyst, ScanEagle has successfully completed 172 sorties in less than five months.
Throughout the six-month agreement, Boeing Australia Limited will work closely with the Australian Army to provide vital surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for Australian and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The level of ScanEagle services to be provided will be at a significantly higher operational tempo those currently being provided for the Army's Overwatch Battle Group in Iraq.
The Afghanistan ScanEagle services contract builds on recent successes in Iraq, where Boeing Australia Limited has been under contract to the Australian Army since late November 2006, said Boeing Australia Limited President David Withers.
"Boeing Australia Limited has worked closely with the Commonwealth of Australia and our partner Insitu, Inc. to stand up this UAV capability in such a short timeframe. We are exceptionally proud of this achievement and of our team who have worked hard to instil customer confidence in the ScanEagle system," said Withers.
Insitu, Inc. manufactures the ScanEagle UAV in Bingen, Washington. Under the new contract, Boeing Australia Limited and Insitu also will provide contractor personnel to support the Afghanistan deployment.
ScanEagle, which is 1.2 metres long with a 3-metre wingspan, carries either an electro-optical or an infrared camera. Both are inertially stabilized. The gimbaled camera allows the operator to easily track stationary and moving targets, including enemy combatants, vehicles, roads, buildings and other hot spots.
For a vehicle of its size, ScanEagle's combination of endurance and payload is unmatched. The system can provide more than 15 consecutive hours of "on-station" coverage, and can be launched and recovered from land or sea, providing greater flexibility than other systems in its class.
Copyright Australian Defence Magazine, July 2007