Unmanned prototype flies for miles

Boeing has linked up with The Insitu Group to develop a prototype unmanned aircraft based on Insitu’s Seascan aircraft.

Boeing has linked up with The Insitu Group to develop a prototype unmanned aircraft based on Insitu’s Seascan.

Through the agreement, Bingen, WA-based Insitu will build a prototype known as Scan Eagle, using Boeing systems integration, communications and payload technologies.

Financial terms of the 15-month agreement aren’t being disclosed.

The existing Seascan is a ship-based surveillance aircraft weighing about 33 pounds with a nearly 10-foot wingspan.

A camera fitted into the inertially-stabilised pan/tilt nose turret of the Seascan can resolve objects such as small boats from at least 5 miles away. An operator can command the camera to pan back-and-forth for wide-area search, or to remain locked onto an object while the aircraft manoeuvres.

In 1998, Insitu and the University of Washington flew one of the aircraft 2,000 miles from Newfoundland to Scotland, using just 1.5 gallons of gasoline.