ScanEagle demonstrates effectiveness for U.S. Coast Guard

By Patrick C. Miller | August 13, 2015

Insitu last month conducted a successful demonstration of its ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) as part of a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) search and rescue exercise along Alaska’s North Slope.

The flight operations were part of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center’s (RDC) Arctic Technology Evaluation 2015 search and rescue exercise (SAREX 2015). Held at Oliktok Point July 13-15, the event evaluated unmanned technologies in remote areas and simulated a collaborative response between government and industry entities to an offshore emergency.

Other participants included ConocoPhillips, Era Helicopters, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North Slope Borough.

“Federal, state, municipal and private collaboration on the North Slope—where assets and resources are scarce—is vital to response mission success,” said Rich Hansen, RDC Arctic coordinator.

The ScanEagle was launched from shore before control was given to UAS operators aboard the USCG Cutter Healy. In flight, the platform provided persistent overwatch, delivering real-time imagery and proving its ability to maximize USCG maritime assets that routinely conduct operations in extreme Arctic conditions.

ScanEagle also demonstrated its beyond-line-of-sight hub-and-spoke capabilities in addition to its potential for such operations as marine mammal surveying and ice floe and ice ridge mapping.

“The lessons learned from this joint exercise will help facilitate response efforts in the future as well as develop requirements, tactics, techniques, and procedures for unmanned technologies that could be leveraged for those responses in the Arctic environment,” Hansen said.

According to Insitu—a subsidiary of the Boeing Co. headquartered in Bingen, Washington—ScanEagle is a reliable, expeditionary, small-footprint solution that delivers persistent imagery on land or at sea. In 2013, ScanEagle received the first restricted category type certification for small UAS from the FAA.

“This exercise demonstrates the value-added result of expanding the capability of unmanned systems into the civil arena,” said Ryan Hartman, Insitu president and CEO.


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