Insitu Pacific Monitors Marine Mammals with ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System
BRISBANE, Australia, Oct. 3, 2011 - Insitu Pacific, the Australia-based subsidiary
of Insitu Inc., announced today that it has concluded the second phase of a landmark
trial conducted in partnership with Murdoch University that aims to determine if
unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are a cost-effective, capable alternative to manned
assets for surveying marine mammals.
During the two-week operation, Insitu Pacific's ScanEagle UAS captured up to 3,000 images of humpback whales daily. The trial also demonstrated ScanEagle's ability to operate effectively in Class G commercial airspace, a key step toward expanding civil airspace to incorporate unmanned systems more widely.
“Flying for a long time, at a low altitude, well off the coast is a high-risk mission for a manned aircraft. Unmanned systems offer an alternative,” says Insitu Pacific Managing Director Andrew Duggan. “ScanEagle is not only safer than manned aircraft for monitoring mammals, it is also environmentally friendlier. Fuel consumption is an order of magnitude less than manned aircraft.” ScanEagle can fly for more than 24 hours at a time on less than five quarts of fuel.
Ideal for operation in remote locations, the runway-independent ScanEagle aircraft was launched, controlled and retrieved from North Stradbroke Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. A high-resolution digital still camera was fitted alongside a typical ScanEagle electro-optic payload. Previous field trials in October 2010 were conducted in Western Australia.
Because UAS offer a safe alternative to manned flight for high-risk missions like this, Insitu Pacific expects to see UAS used more frequently for purposes like this in the future.
Insitu Pacific, located in Queensland, Australia, has provided unmanned aircraft systems and services to defence, civil and commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific region since June 2009. It is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Insitu Inc.
Insitu Inc., located in Bingen, Wash., is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Insitu designs, develops and manufactures UAS and provides associated services for commercial, civil and defense applications. With a small footprint and expeditionary focus for both land and sea operations, the company's family of UAS solutions and global mission support serves the needs of worldwide customers. To date, these systems have accumulated more than 530,000 combat flight hours and 59,000 sorties. For more information, visit www.insitu.com.