Philippine Navy Receives ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System

The Philippine Navy took delivery of ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), the service’s first ever, advanced fixed-wing UAS.

The UAS was acquired through the Maritime Security Initiative Program of the United States requested by the Philippine Navy in 2017 and was formalized in February 2019 after series of dialogues with Philippines’ Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG-Phil).

The U.S. Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Kimberly Kelly and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ JUSMAG turned over the UAS to the Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, during a ceremony at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite, on November 25.

The Php710-million ($14.79 million) system will increase the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s maritime domain awareness and border security capabilities.

The ScanEagle UAS is composed of eight air vehicles, two launchers, skyhook and ground control station. With its longer range and prolonged flight time, it will improve PN ships’ coverage in protecting Philippine maritime waters acting as the “Eye in the Sky” which are also useful during humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations, and search and rescue (SAR) missions.

The ScanEagle UAS will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the AFP 71st Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron (71 MUARS) of the Philippine Fleet’s Naval Air Wing, which will operate the aircraft out of Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales. 71 MUARS is the AFP’s leading unit for unmanned maritime ISR operations.

Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

Boeing Insitu ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for reconnaissance. The ScanEagle was designed by Insitu based on the Insitu SeaScan, a commercial UAV that was intended for fish-spotting.

ScanEagle has a 10.2-foot (3.1 m) wingspan a length of 4.5 feet (1.4 m) and a mass of 44 pounds (20 kg) and can operate up to 80 knots (92 mph; 150 km/h), with an average cruising speed of 48 knots (55 mph; 89 km/h).

The air vehicle needs no airfield for deployment. Instead, it is launched using a pneumatic launcher, patented by Insitu, known as the “SuperWedge” launcher. It is recovered using the “Skyhook” retrieval system, which uses a hook on the end of the wingtip to catch a rope hanging from a 30-to-50-foot (9.1 to 15.2 m) pole.

ScanEagle carries a stabilized electro-optical (E/O) and/or infrared (IR) camera on a lightweight inertial stabilized turret system, and an integrated communications system having a range of over 62 miles (100 km); it has a flight endurance of over 20 hours.

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