The United States will acquire a single ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system from Insitu, which will supply the system to Tunisia.
The United States Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website on 18 July said Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) intends to award the contract to Insitu, saying “Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.”
Tunisia’s Navy is an existing operator of the ScanEagle, operating an unknown number of the type.
Other African operators include Cameroon and Kenya. Contracts for a single system for each country were awarded in September 2015. Both contracts are expected to be completed by September 2016.
The 1.2 metre long, 3 metre wingspan ScanEagle system can provide more than 15 consecutive hours of on-station coverage. The ScanEagle is launched autonomously by a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher and flies preprogrammed or operator-initiated missions. A “skyhook” system is used for retrieval, with the UAV catching a rope hanging from a 50-foot-high pole. The patented system allows ScanEagle to be runway independent and operate from forward fields, mobile vehicles or small ships.
ScanEagle has been demonstrated or used from a wide variety of ship classes and types, and the family includes a number of specialty variants from sniper locator, to bio-warfare agent detection (BCAS). A NightEagle conversion kit adds a different front end with thermal imaging sensors, and allows field conversion of ScanEagle aircraft in 2-3 hours.