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Boeing prepares for lethal ScanEagle test

The first flight of Boeing's ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC) unmanned air vehicle is planned for 24 August, with an air launch event to follow later this year.

Designed for box launch from air and sea craft, the SECC has a lethal capability with submunitions stored in its fuselage centre.

The UAV has a 3.3m (11ft) wingspan, cruise speed of 78kt (144km/h), up to 24h endurance and maximum take-off weight of 48kg (106lb) with 17kg of munitions.

"We have completed risk-reduction activities and windtunnel testing for lift and drag co-efficients," says Boeing, which is now assembling a prototype for imminent ground tests. A Boeing programme manager, speaking at the Shephard UV Europe 2009 conference in Newport, Wales, says the UAV's wing and rudder deployment has already been tested.

Issues with the SECC's engine control module have delayed its first flight from the second quarter of this year until into the third quarter. The air vehicle uses a heavy fuel engine that has passed a start from cold soak test.

As well as submunitions, the SECC could be used to deploy a small vertical take-off and landing UAV.

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