The ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system supported U.S. and NATO forces in their mission to protect civilians and reduce the flow of arms to Libya, prime contractor Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing [BA], said recently.
Operating from the USS Mahan (DDG-72), ScanEagle provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support during a 72-hour counterterrorism surge, the company added.
“What happened over that period of time, no one expected,” said ScanEagle Detachment Officer-in-Charge Lt. Nick Townsend. “After the dust settled, ScanEagle was credited with locating a host of contacts of interest due to its ability to capture superior image quality and to cooperate covertly at relatively low altitudes. “
Imagery was delivered by secure networked channels from the ship to a task force through the Secure Video Injection system provided by Boeing, Insitu said.
Later working with an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) team, the ScanEagle, operating off the Mahan, provided battle damage assessment. It delivered real- time, full-color imagery to improve overall battlefield awareness and mission effectiveness, the company said.
The Mahan team showed the ability to employ ScanEagle to obtain precise imagery rapidly.
“They (operational commanders) say ‘put the camera here’ and we put the camera there without going through layers of complex coordination. We get essential information directly to the decision makers fast,” said Insitu ScanEagle Site Lead Samuel Young.
On this deployment, ScanEagle’s second aboard Mahan, the team reached a 100 percent mission-readiness rate, piling up 1,154 flight hours and 167 sorties.
“We go out on the ships and we integrate with the crew. Any success that we have is a reflection of them,” said Young.