Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005-2009 Andreas Parsch

Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle

The ScanEagle is a miniature UAV derived from the Insitu SeaScan commercial ship-based surveillance mini-UAV, which has been under development since the late 1990s. In February 2002, Boeing and the Insitu Group signed an agreement to co-develop ScanEagle, and in June that year the ScanEagle UAV conducted its first autonomous flight.

Photo: Boeing
ScanEagle A

The ScanEagle is a tailless aircraft with slightly swept wings of high aspect ratio. It is powered by a tail-mounted two-stroke gasoline-fueled off-the-shelf model aircraft engine. The UAV is launched from a pneumatic catapult, and is recovered completely automatically by a so-called "Sky Hook" system, where a rope hanging from a 15 m (50 ft) pole catches the UAV. It is equipped with a GPS-based navigation system, which is used to fly autonomous missions along predefined waypoints. The current ScanEagle model, labeled ScanEagle A, has demonstrated an endurance of more than 15 hours at an altitude of up to 4880 m (16000 ft). The UAV is equipped with an inertially stablized sensor turret. Standard payload is either an electro-optical or an infrared camera, but other sensors could be installed as well. The UAV operator views the camera images in real time, and can point and lock the camera on specific targets. Insitu plans to develop derivatives of the ScanEagle A with greater payload capacity and longer endurance.

Photo: Gunnery Sgt. Shannon Arledge, USMC
ScanEagle A

In July 2004, Boeing received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for two mobile ScanEagle deployment units, each comprising eight ScanEagle A UAVs. The system has since been used by the USMC in Iraq for surveillance and reconnaissance. The U.S. Navy has also been operating the ScanEagle from various types of ships for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) missions since 2005.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for ScanEagle A:

Length1.19 m (3.9 ft)
Wingspan3.05 m (10.0 ft)
Diameter18 cm (7 in)
Weight18 kg (40 lb)
Speed120 km/h (75 mph)
Ceiling5790 m (19000 ft)
Endurance20 h
Propulsion3W 2-stroke piston engine; 1.1 kW (1.5 hp)

Main Sources

[1] Boeing Website
[2] Insitu Group Website
[3] "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap, 2005-2030", Office of the Secretary of Defense, August 2005

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 5 February 2009