The demonstration occurred in early October in the Gulf of Finland during meteorological conditions that would have grounded most unmanned aircraft systems. Launching and recovering through scattered rain showers, two- to four-meter waves and winds up to 40 knots, ScanEagle demonstrated its potential value to Finnish government agencies during challenging weather and without interfering with manned helicopters on the ship’s flight deck. Insitu systems have a proven operational record of 60,000 shipboard flight hours aboard more than 28 classes of ships.
ScanEagle performed two of the trial’s five flights equipped with the ViDAR sensor manufactured by Sentient Vision Systems of Melbourne, Australia. ViDAR enables ScanEagle to automatically perform persistent, wide-area maritime search covering 80 times the area that can be searched by conventional cameras. Two of the flights were performed with the Alticam 09EO2 and one flight was performed with the Alticam 09MWIR3.5, both manufactured by Hood Tech Vision of Hood River, Oregon, USA. With its 170X optical zoom, Alticam 09EO2 enables ScanEagle to closely inspect maritime and shore-based activities from distances sufficient to remain undetected. Alticam 09MWIR3.5 offers the flexibility to support day-to-night missions by combining a medium-wave infrared imager and laser pointer with an electro-optical sensor.
The lightweight payloads demonstrated offer performance comparable to larger sensors, but at a fraction of the size and weight. As configured for the trials aboard OPV Turva, ScanEagle can operate for up to sixteen hours while consuming less than 5.5 kilograms of kerosene-based JP-5 fuel per flight.
“These trials demonstrated the merits of the ScanEagle and our SkyHook recovery system while operating aboard a ship that is pitching and rolling under high seas and strong winds. ScanEagle continues to be the platform of choice for many navies and coast guards around the world because it provides a user friendly and cost-effective ISR solution that can operate from ships of all sizes, even during the challenging weather we experienced aboard Turva.”
Dave Funkhouser, Insitu’s Business Development Executive for Northern Europe