Insitu will provide its ScanEagle small unmanned air vehicle to the Australian Navy, Singapore Navy and Japan Self Defence Force.

"International growth is very important to Insitu. As pressures in the US market rise, it becomes ever more important for us to grow internationally," says Ryan Hartman, Insitu senior vice-president of business development. "We've seen about a 40% growth in our international revenue, and a lot of that's being driven by some of our key international customers."

Japan, a first-time customer, is purchasing two aircraft for land-based maritime missions. The nation quickly realised the value of UAVs following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which saw Japan borrow UAV assets from other nations.

Singapore has used the aircraft in seaborne trials for several years, which Hartman says is common for prospective customers. Insitu hopes the Singapore purchase, which encompasses three systems (a system is usually four aircraft, but the company declined to specify the number at Singapore's request), will serve as a regional catalyst for more orders.

"That's going to be a ship-based system. They're starting out with a single ship and working up what their utility will be with the system and then the programme will grow from there," says Hartman. "It's actually a fairly long-term contract that we signed with them, it gives them lots of opportunity for growth."

The Australian Navy is purchasing one system, comprising "four-odd" aircraft for shipborne use. The Australian Army already operates a number of the aircraft.

Insitu has signed additional contracts with Middle Eastern nations for both the ScanEagle and Integrator, although the company declined to elaborate on the customers and number of aircraft.

The US Navy is ScanEagle's largest customer, but the system is also flown by several Asia-Pacific nations including Australia and Malaysia.

Source: Flight Daily News