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AUVSI: Insitu looks to widen civilian ScanEagle applications

Buoyed by the recent receipt of type certification approval to support oil exploration activities off the coast of Alaska with its ScanEagle UAS, Insitu (booth 2513) is looking to increase its provision of surveillance services to civilian customers.

The Boeing subsidiary on 19 July received certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration to perform ice flow monitoring and wildlife observation flights in support of an undisclosed oil company from later this year. Its activity will involve a stock of four 20.4kg (45lb) ScanEagle air vehicles, which will be launched from and recovered back onboard a ship, under strictly defined operating conditions.

"With the certification, now we can start to responsibly introduce UAVs into the national airspace," says Ryan Hartman, senior vice president, Insitu programmes. Another potential application exists with the US Coast Guard, which earlier this year trialled the use of a ScanEagle from one of its National Security Cutter vessels.

"We are working with the Coast Guard on what their next steps will be," says Hartman, who adds that its coastline protection need "is a mission that's right in our wheelhouse."

ScanEagle air vehicles have now logged more than a combined 730,000 operational flight hours, through more than 88,000 sorties flown for customers including the US armed services, and militaries from several other nations, including Australia, Canada and Singapore.

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