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Scan Eagle drone: What is it and why is it important?

What is a Scan Eagle drone?

A Scan Eagle drone is a small, unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that is used for a variety of purposes, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and research. Developed by the Boeing Company and manufactured by a subsidiary Insitu Inc., this drone is designed for long-endurance and can stay aloft for up to 24 hours.

One feature that has made the Scan Eagle stand out among other UAS is its ability to launch from and land on ships, making it a valuable tool for naval operations. This drone has been extensively used by the United States military in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it has been credited with saving countless lives by providing critical intelligence and surveillance capabilities.

Here is an overview of features according to their manufacturer Insitu:

How does a Scan Eagle drone work?

The Scan Eagle drone is a remarkable piece of technology that has revolutionized the world of aerial surveillance and reconnaissance. Unlike its larger counterparts, this small unmanned aircraft is light, nimble, and highly maneuverable, making it the ideal choice for both military and civilian applications. Insitu boasts that the Scan Eagle is the “industry’s most trusted long-endurance UAS” with over 1.2 million flight hours.

Powered by a gas engine, the Scan Eagle is capable of flying for up to 18 hours at a time, covering vast distances and collecting valuable data and intelligence along the way. The Scan Eagle uses an EO camera (zooming photographic camera) and a separate EO video camera with an encrypted video data link.

Who makes Scan Eagle drones?

Scan Eagle drones are manufactured by Insitu Inc., a Boeing subsidiary based in Washington State. The company has a stellar reputation for producing some of the most advanced unmanned aerial systems in the world, and the Scan Eagle drone is undoubtedly one of their most well-known drones.

Who uses the Scan Eagle drones?

Scan Eagle drones are widely used, even for research – their long-endurance and relatively robust instrument load make it ideal for a lot of data collection. They are used throughout the US armed forces, and Homeland Security. In terms of other nations using them the US has sent an unspecified number of Scan Eagle drones to Ukraine. Brazil deployed their first drones including the Scan Eagles in 2023. Scan Eagles are also known used to be used by Australia, Canada.

How does a Scan Eagle drone launch and land?

The drone is launched from a pneumatic rail with the help of a catapult system, propelling it into the sky. When it’s time to come back down, a Skyhook system is used that allows the drone to hook onto a wire and be safely lowered onto a moving platform. The entire process takes only a few minutes, making the Scan Eagle drone an impressive piece of aviation technology.

scan eagel drone launch
A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle launches from the Potomac River Test Range. Navy scientist Dr. Chris Weiland briefed visitors on the coordinated use of unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence and targeting at a demonstration of Surface and Expeditionary Warfare Mission Module weapons at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), March 28, 2018.
scan eagle recovery
A Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) makes an arrested recovery on the Skyhook recovery system aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).

How many Scan Eagle drones has the US sent to Ukraine?

We are not sure how many Scan Eagle drones are in use in Ukraine – reports on military equipment sent into Ukraine with regular updates but doesn’t always communicate exact quantities.

How much does a Scan Eagle drone cost?

Scan Eagle drones are manufactured and sold in sets of 4. Each set containers everything needed to operate the drones including ground control equipment – a set of 4 drones costs 3.2 million.

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Culturalist Press Staff

The Culturalist Press’ mission is to be a place for useful, informed, and relevant writing. Our goal is to be clear, concise, and refreshingly straightforward in our coverage of topics. We champion organizations focused on fact-based journalism as we ourselves are while trying to stay focused on covering topics that matter to everyone.Staff pieces: