The company will provide operations and maintenance support as well as training for the U.S. military’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial surveillance systems used by the Navy and Marines to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and against Somali pirates.
Resembling a large model airplane, ScanEagle has infra-red imaging capabilities and according to Insitu, is able “to capture high quality visual data” with “high levels of stealth.”
Earlier this month Christopher Burger, of Ritzville, Wash.; Jeremy Duke of Everett, Wash.; and Alexander Gustafson, of Vashon Island, Wash. were among a group of five students in the University of North Dakota’s aerospace program who were the first in the nation to receive degrees in unmanned aircraft operations, as the Bismark Tribune reported. Their training included use of the ScanEagle system, according to an Insitu spokesperson.
The ScanEagle system may also be commercialized, if a safety rules framework is adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Early tests and research have shown ScanEagle can be used to count whale populations, monitor river flooding and aid in back country rescue.