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    1st MEF's eye in the sky



    Courtesy Story

    DVIDS Hub     

    By Spc. J. Tashun Joycé

    CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The First Marine Expeditionary Force recently launched the fourth flight of its high-tech Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle over Fallujah skies.

    Scan Eagle, a product of Boeing affiliate, the Insitu Group, received a contract from the United States Marine Corps in July to provide two UAV mobile deployment units to I MEF for use in their area of operations.

    Scan Eagle made its first flight in 2002. It recently participated in the U.S. Joint Forces Command Forward Look, a series of demonstrations and experiments to improve interoperability and increase data fusion among multiple UAVs in operational scenarios. "Scan Eagle will allow us to see the battlefield, gather intelligence, track the enemy, collect reconnaissance, and be the eye in the sky for our warriors," said Maj. Will Mayberry, I MEF Combat Assessment Team.

    Communications relay technology allows Marines on the ground to more easily receive and share information.

    Sgt. Thomas Adarca, I MEF G-2, tracks the area that Scan Eagle covers and measures its progress by watching a large computer screen."I monitor where Scan Eagle is going by tracking the overhead images it provides," said Adarca. "Scan Eagle has four major differences from other UAVs", said Dave Sliwa Insitu Group, flight operations director.

    It is very inexpensive, said Sliwa. The cost is cheaper than the fuel cost of the average tactical flight. If the plane doesn't come home nobody will be in trouble.Launch and recovery can be done in a small area. No runway is required and it can be recovered on boats. It is only four feet long with a 10-foot wingspan.Integrated payloads allow Scan Eagle to adapt to different missions. Alternate missions can easily be assumed."

    Finally, Scan Eagle has a high level of endurance," said Sliwa.

    "It has been certified for 15 hours of flight but we've flown it for up to 24 hours and landed it with extra fuel."Scan Eagle can be flown under most weather conditions and flies itself to the destination that we select, said Mayberry. It launches using a catapult known as a pneumatic wedge and lands by using skyhook technology. It basically just catches a rope on a 50-foot pole stopping its engine.

    "We're currently the only ones in theatre with Scan Eagle technology," said Mayberry. "It is a great asset for the MEF and may be brought to the battalion level in the future."



    Date Taken: 08.25.2004
    Date Posted: 08.25.2004 11:32
    Story ID: 265
    Location: FALLUJAH, IQ 

    Web Views: 102
    Downloads: 36