US Coast Guard Makes History with Insitu ScanEagle
When the US Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter STRATTON left its home port in Alameda, CA/USA, earlier this year, it was the first USCG cutter to deploy fully equipped with an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for an entire patrol. That UAS was Insitu’s Standard Maritime Package (two ScanEagle air vehicles, one Ground Contol Station, and the SkyHook Recovery System), and by the end of the deployment, the aircraft had directly assisted the STRATTON crew with conducting four interdictions, seizing more than 1,676kg of illicit contraband valued at $55 million and apprehending ten suspected drug traffickers.
During the six-week deployment in the eastern Pacific Ocean, ScanEagle flew 39 sorties for a total of 279 hours, including one operation where the aircraft provided persistent surveillance for 22.7 flight hours in a 24-hour period. ScanEagle was equipped with multiple sensors including electro-optic, thermal and telescope cameras that delivered a range of aerial imagery to the STRATTON crew and decision makers, enabling them to better execute real-time actionable intelligence. The information ScanEagle provided will assist with prosecution efforts by the US Department of Justice.
The sorties flown by ScanEagle were supported by a MH-65 helicopter and vice versa, showing a perfect example of manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T).
The CGC STRATTON deployment is the first under Insitu’s June 2016 contract award to provide UAS ISR services aboard one USCG national security cutter. Last month, the USCG released a draft request for proposal to procure small UAS capabilities for its entire national security cutter fleet. Insitu expects a decision by the end of the year.