Boeing Contracted for UAV Services in Iraq
The Boeing Co. in St. Louis, MO received a minimum guaranteed $10.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services utilizing an unmanned aircraft system in support of the Global War on Terrorism.” This contract includes options for additional support which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $381.55 million. Work will be performed in the area of operations in support of I and II Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs) deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is expected to be complete December 2007 (December 2010 with options). Contract funds will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Navy Electronic Commerce Office, with two offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA issued the contract (M67854-07-D-2052). Boeing release, which describes it as an $18 million contract.
Boeing has had field representatives in theater for a couple of years now to support and operate the Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle UAV from ships and ashore, receiving high praise and a fairly regular stream of contracts like this one from the USA and Australia. ScanEagle was developed to track dolphins and tuna from fishing boats, but its characteristics (low infrastructure launch and recovery, small size, long endurance, automated flight patterns) have turned out to be very good for battlefield surveillance. ScanEagles have flown more than 4,600 sorties and 50,000 flight hours, including 34,000 hours with the MEF. It has also been adapted to a number of specialty roles from sniper locator, to bio-warfare agent detection.