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Enhanced ScanEagle UAVs announced

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 13, 2009

Boeing has announced two advanced developments of its Insitu ScanEagle UAV.

The first is an air launched MagEagle Compressed Carriage (MECC) variant which Boeing hopes to integrate with its P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft next decade. MECC would carry a passive magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) for the detection of distortions in the earth’s magnetic field caused by submarines and other metallic objects. Boeing officials raised the prospect of the MECC/P-8A combination during briefings to Australian media in Seattle in July, as the P-8 will not be equipped with a MAD boom.

“MECC’s mission is to help locate, track and attack submarines,” said Ron Perkins, director of Advanced Unmanned Airborne Systems for Boeing Phantom Works in a statement. “This contract is a crucial first step to identify risks associated with a UAS equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector system.”

Insitu has revealed it is developing and operating in limited numbers a new ScanEagle which has a newly profiled nose which carries a new sensor for surveillance use at night. Dubbed NightEagle, the new aircraft has reportedly logged 260 sorties already under a contract with the US Special Operations Command and Canada’s Department of National Defence.

The NightEagle uses a FLIR Systems mid-wave infrared (MWIR) Recon-3 camera but is planned to incorporate a new MWIR camera developed by Italy’s DRS Technologies from next year. The MWIR can be installed on any Block D ScanEagle in about two hours, and the aircraft is launched and recovered the same as the standard aircraft.

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