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.
March 28/08: The Boeing Co. in St. Louis, MO received an $8.4 million modification to a previously awarded, firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-05-C-0045) to provide persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) services supporting the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Operation Enduring Freedom surge detachment.
Work will be performed in Afghanistan (90%) and St. Louis, MO (10%) and is expected to be complete in October 2008. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.