UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Insitu ScanEagle Reaches 2,500 Combat Flight Hours with Heavy Fuel Engine

7th August 2009 - 13:55 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Insitu has announced it has reached more than 2,500 combat flight hours and more than 300 shipboard sorties with its heavy fuel engine (HFE).

ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) successfully implemented the HFE aboard U.S. Navy ships, flying more than 11 hours daily. ScanEagle is currently deployed aboard a U.S. Navy Destroyer and completed deployment aboard the Mahan and Milius.

Since flight-testing began in 2006, Insitu has tested, developed and refined the ScanEagle HFE. Insitu is able to meet the system safety and logistics required aboard maritime vessels, while increasing system endurance and capabilities.

In 2007, Insitu demonstrated these capabilities with a 28-hour, 44-minute endurance flight and in March 2008, the company deployed ScanEagle HFE.

“Since we met the challenge and developed an HFE-capable UAS for the Navy, the ScanEagle was able to provide critical intelligence aboard a U.S. Navy vessel which assisted in rescuing the captain of a freight ship who was taken hostage by pirates last April,” said Insitu Chief Technology Officer Charlie Guthrie.

Used as a safer alternative to auto gas, heavy fuel refers to the kerosene-based diesel fuel (JP5) commonly used in jet aircraft engines.

This technology, which enhances overall engine performance, was a critical requirement of the U.S. Navy when deciding to place the UAS on DDG class ships.

Insitu—in partnership with combustion system experts Sonex Research, Inc. (Annapolis, MD)—developed the HFE for ScanEagle. The HFE system offers significant enhancements, including simple starting and operation, a wider weather envelope, improved reliability and increased endurance.

“The ScanEagle has a tremendous record on mission availability and responsiveness and we are proud to have partnered with Insitu,” said Sonex Research Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer Dr. Andrew A. Pouring.

Insitu, Inc., located in Bingen, Wash., designs, develops and manufactures unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and associated services for commercial and military applications.

With a small footprint and expeditionary focus for both land and sea operations, the company’s family of UAS solutions is serving the needs of the global defense community achieving 200,000 combat flight hours and 1,500 shipboard sorties.

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