ScanEagle Maker Gets Venture Financing
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that ScanEagle UAV makers The Insitu Group of Bingen, WA just received $23 million in venture capital financing from Battery Ventures, Second Avenue Partners and others. The firm has grown quickly since 1992, posting revenues of $25 million last year after a UAV it developed to monitor tuna schools and dolphins turned out to have exactly the characteristics that the Marines were looking for. A partnership with Boeing firmed up their marketing channels, and the US Navy has also deployed these UAVs on the HSV-2 high-speed catamaran and the LPD 14 USS Trenton amphibious support ship, where it has been used to help protect oil platforms in the Persian-Arabian Gulf.
To date, the paper reports that Insitu has produced 190 aircraft. The article offered the interesting tidbit that the UAVs are designed to last about 2,000 flight hours, but crash landings, system failures, and weather-related mishaps have ensured that none of their military UAVs have hit that target yet. Interest in the $100,000 UAVs remains high, however, including the possibility that Canada may appreciate their land and naval versatility enough to select the ScanEagle in its mini-UAV competition. Insitu is currently developing additional UAV platforms, including the SeaScan and GeoRanger for commercial and research purposes. Readers are invited to peruse the newspaper article for further details.