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.