“In all conflicts, the need for ISR support is based on
the unpredictable pace of combat operations,” she said.
“One of the benefits of the ISR services model is the abil-
ity to rapidly adapt to the changing needs of our cus-
tomers. ScanEagle was designed to incorporate the latest
technology as it becomes available. To meet emerging
customer requirements, key design features allow seam-
less integration of new payloads and sensors.”
The ScanEagle’s EO900 payload combines an EO
imager with a high-definition telescope (170x optical
zoom) in a single turret, she said.
“The picture-in-picture view enables operators to
view a broad area on land or sea [such as a building of
interest and the surrounding exit routes], while at the
same time zooming in on a specific object of interest
[people coming in and out of the front door]. Operators
can distinguish between a shovel and a rifle from a slant
range of more than 8,000 feet,” she said.
ScanEagle’s Dual Imager combines an EO and
millimeter-wave sensor in one turret, which features
independent zoom for each imager, a picture-in-picture
view, EO/IR imagery blending and autonomous object
tracking in both views, according to McNamara.
This year, Insitu will introduce ScanEagle 2, an
improved version that “provides expanded payload
options, rapid payload integration and a unique,
purpose-built propulsion system to optimize perform-
ance,” McNamara said. “The aircraft’s new architecture
maximizes commonality with all Insitu systems, saving
money on life-cycle costs and training.”
ScanEagle 2 deliveries will begin in 2016. The company
also uses the larger Integrator UAV for some of its cus-
tomers. The Integrator is the basis for the RQ-21A Black-
jack UAV being procured by the Navy and Marine Corps.
Since 2012, under the Navy’s ISR services contract,
Textron Systems Unmanned Systems has been providing turnkey fee-for-service operations with its Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) for several DoD customers.
“Our fee-for-service teams currently support the
Marine Corps under the Navy ISR services contract,”
said David Phillips, vice president Small/Medium
Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems, at the Hunt
Valley, Md.-based company. “Under this contract,
we’ve also supported the U.S. Army and Air Force.
“We are currently delivering thousands of monthly
flight hours at several international sites under this
contract. Our Aerosonde system is equipped for multi-
mission execution within a single sortie, including
high-fidelity EO/IR full-motion video, as well as any of
several available communications relay and electronic
warfare payload options. We also have worked with our
customers to rapidly integrate and operate specific pay-
loads of interest to better serve their emerging mission
needs. We continue to leverage our size, weight and
power advantage to integrate new payloads and make
the system more capable with additional intelligence
packages, wide-area survey, moving target indicators,
automated identification systems, etc.,” he said.
Textron’s ISR services task orders currently are for land-
based services, Phillips said.
“However, the Aerosonde system is highly capable in
maritime environments, with a small footprint that
requires no ship alterations. The system has been tested
and verified at high sea states befitting a variety of ship
types and environmental conditions. In fact, we recently
completed sea-based trials with the Navy using the
Aerosonde system, during which moving target indication
payloads and automatic identification systems were used
to locate vessels at great distances, and the system was
launched and recovered with confidence,” he said.
Textron also is providing multimission fee-for-service
operations at several international sites to U.S. Special
Operations Command via a similar indefinite delivery,
indefinite quantity program called Medium-Endurance
Unmanned Aircraft Systems II, Phillips said.
“We are currently operating in Afghanistan, as well as
other locations within the CENTCOM [Central
Command] and AFRICOM [Africa Command] areas of
operations. We also work with commercial customers in
industries such as oil and gas and critical infrastructure
protection,” he said.
After a decade of ISR services, naval officials have
plenty of data and experience to judge the performance
of Insitu and, more recently, Textron.
“While ISR services lack some of the capability of
the Navy’s programs of record, ISR services have done
an outstanding job of filling the ISR capacity gaps
while the programs of record are being fielded,” Yelle
49 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MAY 2015
ScanEagle program members launch an unmanned aerial
vehicle from the flight deck of the Afloat Forward Staging
Base (Interim) USS Ponce during the International Mine
Countermeasures Exercise Nov. 4 in the Arabian Gulf.