RAN tests ScanEagle from HMAS Newcastle
The trials took place during HMAS Newcastle’s recent sea qualification trials, carried out to test weapons and engineering systems after a lengthy maintenance period.
The crew was joined by Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit and Navy Unmanned Aviation Systems Unit teams for the ScanEagle testing. Flights were carried out over several days to test electronic interference detection, deck operations, as well as validation of the ship operating limits.
Flight operations consisted of launching ScanEagle and conducting multiple approaches to the ship at various relative winds in order to validate a safe flight envelope for the aircraft. The UAS’ Skyhook recovery system was also embarked.
ScanEagle is a 1.5m UAS with a three metre wingspan and endurance of more than 20 hours. Powered by a 1.9 horse power engine using either heavy fuel or petrol, the UAS can fly as fast as 70 knots and can carry a wide variety of payloads including cameras, sensors, and measuring equipment to assist the controlling ship in building a recognised maritime picture.
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