ScanEagle is a relatively low-cost robot aircraft at $100,000 a copy – but then, it was originally designed to find tuna schools not terrorists. The U.S. Marine Corps is currently using an upgraded version of the aircraft in Iraq, where its performance in Fallujah and along the Syrian border has drawn interest from other services and a recent $14.5 contract from the U.S. Navy.
The Marines already use the Pioneer UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and have access to other UAV information via man-portable Dragon Eye systems et. al. The ScanEagle’s combination of range, long loiter time, and small logistical and operational footprints makes it somewhat unique. Unlike the much larger Pioneer, which requires a runway, C-130s to transport the system, and a large logistical “tail” of technicians, operator, and maintenance, the ScanEagle requires just a few people and the aircraft, launch system, skyhook, et. al. can be carried in just four HMMWV jeeps. Unlike the smaller Dragon Eye, this 4-foot aircraft with a 10 foot wingspan can keep its sensors on target for 10-15 hours without requiring an operator to control it.
Following positive evaluations in the field by the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy has committed to a $14.5 million contract to use the ScanEagle. ScanEagle is a small GPS-guided spy plane that can linger above a designated battle space for many hours and beam back real-time pictures and positioning data. The Navy plans to use it in military operations in Iraq and other terrorism-related operations globally, but its capabilities may also make it suitable for use in a naval reconnaissance role. The low-cost, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle has already accumulated more than 2,400 flight hours in Iraq with the First Marine Expeditionary Force.
The ScanEagle was developed by the Insitu Group, a small Bingen, WA company in a partnership with The Boeing Co.’s Phantom Works division. Insitu is backed by Second Avenue Partners, which was co-founded by Pete Higgins, a former Microsoft Corp. executive. Puget Sound business Journal: Navy commits to $14.5M ScanEagle contract.
Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $162.8 million firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5482) to procure 251 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), 38 shipping containers and spares for the NATO Sea Sparrow consortium. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (38%); Andover, Mass. (10%); Camden, Ark. (5%); Minneapolis, Minn. (1%); and the countries of Australia (13%); Canada (7%); Norway (7%); Germany (7%); The Netherlands (6%); Spain (3%); Denmark (1%); Greece (1%); and Turkey (1%), and is expected to be completed by October 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. issued the contract.
Universal Construction Co. Inc. in Huntsville, AL won a $38.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for Construction of an administrative building, cafeteria, walkways, and a central plant expansion at Redstone Arsenal, AL. Work is expected to be complete by May 3, 2007. There were 148 bids solicited on Feb. 13, 2004, and three bids were received. The Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, AL issued the contract (W91278-05-C-0024).
A $1.6 million contract with Konarka Technologies Inc. for an unspecified number of flexible solar panels aims to lighten the load for U.S. troops, who must transport and carry batteries to power everything from night vision goggles to GPS units. In the immediate term, these panels could ease the load on U.S. troops and Special Forces, while reducing the military’s logistics requirements. Over the longer terms, it could become part of military structures and eventually find its way into the casing of laptops or even consumer clothing.
General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, MI was awarded a delivery order amount of $25.3 million as part of a $56.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for the reset of M1A2 system enhancement program tanks. Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2005. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 3, 2005. The Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI issued the contract (DAAE07-01-G-N001).
The war in Iraq and the commitment to eliminate global terrorism has consumed vast numbers of repair parts, which affects training and readiness. “Reset” is a term used by the Land-Based Weapon Systems Group’s Long Term Contracts Team at Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSSC), to capture the business of repairing equipment and replenishing stocks used in Operation Iraqi Freedom. DSSC is responsible for acquisition support and readiness of numerous combat vehicles and related equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense. See Columbus Federal Voice (Nov. 19, 2003): Land team comes to new terms with war’s huge increase of demands