Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, has the advantage of size and scope in the drone industry. Combining the best strengths of both companies, Insitu is a major innovator of unmanned systems – but has the Boeing background of safety and collaboration with airspace regulatory authorities. A big name in both military and commercial applications, the company has flown over 1,000,000 hours for their customers: and that’s given them the experience in service that has led to their next offering. At AUVSI’s Xponential show, Insitu unveiled the ScanEagle®3.
“ScanEagle3 was designed as a commercial product to provide customers with the optimum combination of payload, endurance, mobility and cost to support a wide range of business and operation needs — when the needs call for a medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicle system,” says a company announcement.
The big announcement, however – one that led the international customers in the crowd to break out into applause – is a business feature. The ScanEagle 3 offers the military -grade endurance and capabilities but is a truly commercial product: one not covered by U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). That means that the aircraft can be exported easily and adopted quickly by commercial customers.
This is a significant move for the company. It means that Insitu has successfully made a larger expansion into the commercial market, something not every company is able to do. While many unmanned aircraft could successfully adapt to commercial applications, not all unmanned aircraft companies traditionally focused on military customers can make the shift to serving commercial customers. Insitu has been adept at figuring out what their commercial customers want – and developing for it.
There are some new features on the product; features that Insitu’s customers were excited about. The ScanEagle3 offers a significantly increased payload capacity — up to three payloads simultaneously. The newly increased payload capacity and flight performance come at a price point “similar to the venerable ScanEagle,” says the announcement.
“Our engineers have been very successful at reducing ScanEagle3 lifecycle costs and increasing operating efficiency — a huge win for both our customers and Insitu,” said Matt Bartow, Insitu’s Chief Technology Officer.
“ScanEagle3 provides our customers with a key capability that completes the use case and operational profiles for our UAS portfolio,” said Jon Damush, Insitu’s Chief Growth Officer. “Filling a critical gap between ScanEagle and Integrator, our intent from the start was to build a system that preserved all the best parts of the ScanEagle system, but gave customers additional payload capability to satisfy multiple payload missions,” explains Damush. “Simply put, by being able to simultaneously collect multiple data types during a flight improves efficiency and affordability.”
- Significantly increased payload (up to three payloads simultaneously), increased flexibility and long endurance
- Compatibility with existing ScanEagle payloads, resulting in easy upgrading capabilities
- Use of the same ground launch and recovery equipment as ScanEagle and Integrator
- Complete integration with ICOMC2 and INEXA Control ground control station software, minimizing redundant training and maximizing vehicle-to-human ratio, while enabling multiple, dissimilar aircraft to fly simultaneously
- Adjustable wing positioning to provide flexibility for the aircraft’s center of gravity, and rapid payload changes in the field
- Design focused on pursuing FAA Type Certification in the U.S. national airspace system (NAS)
- ITAR-free commercial baseline configuration
“We capitalized on the success of our previous ScanEagle, Integrator and RQ-21A Blackjack products and services, and our more than one million operational flight hours operating in some of the world’s most difficult environments,” explained Damush. “Consistent with our heritage, we continue to evolve our products and anticipate customer need while simultaneously supporting our existing global customer base — as always — with our aviation professionals, world class UAS training and superior customer service.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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