Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities for Customers
Insitu is a pioneer in the unmanned air systems (UAS) market and leader in the design, development and manufacture of high-performance, low-cost UAS used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Insitu is a subsidiary under Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' Boeing Military Aircraft unit. More information is available on Insitu's Web site.
Boeing and The Insitu Group have developed and built a low-cost, long-endurance autonomous unmanned vehicle, called ScanEagle. ScanEagle is based on Insitu's Seascan miniature robotic aircraft and draws on Boeing's systems integration, communications and payload technologies.
Boeing foresees customers using ScanEagle vehicles individually or in groups to loiter over trouble spots and provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data or communications relay. As standard payload ScanEagle carries either an inertially stabilized electro-optical or an infrared camera. The gimbaled camera allows the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets, providing real-time intelligence. Capable of flying above 16,000 feet, the UAV has also demonstrated the ability to provide persistent low-altitude reconnaissance.
In April 2005, Boeing received a $14.5 million contract from the Navy for unmanned aerial vehicle services in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror. Boeing is providing ScanEagle UAVs, communication links and ground equipment for Naval Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and oil platform security in the Persian Gulf. The Navy awarded Boeing a $13 million contract modification in September 2005 to provide ScanEagle system support for Navy high-speed vessels and an afloat forward staging base as well.
The UAV's unique ISR and long-endurance capabilities provide the Navy with real-time intelligence and situational awareness. For ESG missions, ScanEagle is ship-launched and recovered. Since being deployed with the Navy in July, ScanEagle already has surpassed 900 flight hours.
Boeing's Navy contract followed on the heels of a U.S. Marine Corps contract signed in June 2004 to provide two ScanEagle mobile deployment units for use with the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.
With 10,000 combat flight hours under its belt to date, ScanEagle has demonstrated that it is a valuable net-centric system that can provide real-time information to those who need it. ScanEagle's imagery allows tactical commanders to develop a clearer picture of the battlefield, which in the end has resulted in improved situational awareness and saved lives.
The ScanEagle system also has been used to support the UK Ministry of Defence's Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (JUEP), through an industry team that includes Thales, QinetiQ and Boeing. During trials conducted off the coast of Scotland, team JUEP successfully controlled ScanEagle flights from a Royal Navy warship, which was a UK-first. Proving its ability to support maritime operations and land reconnaissance, ScanEagle was launched from land and then handed over to the ship-based control station.
For a vehicle of its size, ScanEagle's endurance/payload combination is unmatched. The UAV -- four-feet long with a 10-foot wingspan -- can remain on station for more than 15 hours. Planned variants will have an endurance of more than 30 hours.
Another key design feature of ScanEagle is its internal avionics bay. The avionics bay allows seamless integration of new payloads and sensors to meet emerging customer requirements, and ensures the vehicle will be able to incorporate the latest technology as it becomes available.
In December 2004, ScanEagle demonstrated high-speed wireless communications relay during a flight at the Boeing Boardman test range. Enabled by Harris Corporation's National Security Agency-approved Type 1 classified Sec-Net-11 Plus technology in its avionics bay, streaming video and voice-over IP communication was sent from a ground control station over a secure high-bandwidth network to ScanEagle 18 miles away. The data was then instantaneously relayed to ground personnel six miles from the UAV. The flight demonstrated the capability for troops on the ground to receive critical information and situational awareness in a secure environment, key elements in creating a network centric battlefield.
ScanEagle is launched autonomously via a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher and flies pre-programmed or operator-initiated missions guided by GPS and its onboard flight-control system. It is retrieved using a "Skyhook" system in which the UAV catches 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.
In August 2004 ScanEagle completed the longest flight ever recorded by a UAV launched and retrieved at sea -- 16 hours and 45 minutes. During ScanEagle's record-setting flight, it did aerial surveillance of sea conditions and ships in Puget Sound, Wash., waters, demonstrating the type of mission anticipated for shipboard operations. The milestone followed on the heels of another historic ship-based flight and retrieval in April 2004 aboard the same 58-foot fishing boat, Shackleton. The autonomous launch and recovery was a first for fixed-wing UAVs.
ScanEagle, which made its first flight in 2002, participated in the Joint Forces Command Forward Look exercises, which began in December 2003 and ended in June 2004. The goal was to improve interoperability and increase data fusion among multiple UAVs in operational scenarios. As part of Forward Look, ScanEagle was tasked with providing ISR coverage and time-sensitive targeting to a broad network that included UAVs, ground stations, ships at sea, command centers and other airborne assets. ScanEagle received rave reviews for its performance during the exercises.
In August 2003, ScanEagle "A" -- the first vehicle in the ScanEagle family -- demonstrated its long-endurance capability when it completed a 15.2-hour flight at the Boeing Boardman test range. The flight confirmed ScanEagle is capable of the long-endurance necessary to complete an array of missions including ISR and communication. The flight was also significant in that it was the first time the test team put two UAVs in the air simultaneously.
Boeing and The Insitu Group signed a 15-month agreement in February 2002 to develop and build the prototype ScanEagle UAV. In July 2003, the two companies signed a long-term contract that allows them to move into production, while at the same time continue research and development efforts.
Description and Purpose
The Integrator™ unmanned aircraft (UA) is a product of Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Integrator is a multi-mission, long-endurance UA that carries custom payloads for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The payload-centric design allows for easy integration with external systems.
The Integrator system can carry a 25-pound payload for greater than 15 hours; it can carry payloads totaling up to 37.5 pounds, providing up to 350 watts of power. Integrator has reconfigurable payload bays and maintains the same long endurance, modular construction and small system footprint of the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Integrator has line-of-sight communications range of over 55 nautical miles (nm). That range can be extended to 100 nm with a communications relay payload and to 550 nm with configuration for beyond line-of-sight operations.
Data link commands control the Integrator UA, reconnaissance sensors and payloads. Missions can be pre-programmed and executed autonomously. Integrator ground control systems allow for seamless integration and expandability, multi-vehicle control, remote and mobile operations and NATO-standard interfaces.
Insitu’s Multiple UAV Software Environment (IMUSE) is a graphical user interface used for flight planning, monitoring and operation. IMUSE provides operators with comprehensive, easy-to-use tools for all phases of flight. Operators use the IMUSE map to indicate waypoints, targets, and aircraft tracks. The interface is designed such that the operator essentially draws lines for flight paths and target paths, and specifies which path to follow.
Integrator is based on concepts proven in ScanEagle and matured through ongoing research and development. It retains key ScanEagle features – small system footprint, long endurance, autonomy, stabilized imagery, shipboard launch and recovery, low observable signature, and hub and spoke operation – but has the capacity to employ a mix of larger payloads, for longer periods, in equally austere environments.
Insitu’s unmanned aircraft systems were originally designed to track fish populations. Engineered to withstand the extreme environmental stresses of a maritime environment, the small, durable system design translated well to the needs of today’s warfighter. Needs of coalition forces drove numerous advances and operational improvements to the system to bring ScanEagle to the warfighter in Afghanistan and Iraq. As part of the Insitu family of UAS, Integrator uses the same interoperable launch and recovery system designs that have been used since 2004 in combat and other extreme environments and attained nearly 100 percent mission availability.
Integrator became a U.S. Navy program of record in July 2010 when it won the Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS) / Tier II competition. Under the $43.7 million contract, Integrator will support two operational assessments: the first will determine if an early operational capability option will be exercised leading to the fielding of up to five systems in fiscal 2011; and the second will support low-rate initial production of two systems, one each for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Initial operating capability is expected in fourth quarter fiscal 2013. Integrator is then expected to move to full-rate production of up to 56 systems.
Four Integrator air vehicles are scheduled for delivery in 2010. Integrator has not entered rate-production.
Major customers of Insitu include the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Army, Special Operations, Australian Defence Force and Canadian Forces.
U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division awards a $43.7 million contract to Insitu to begin full-scale development of the Integrator UAV. (July)
The NanoSAR payload module is released for Integrator. This small, synthetic-aperture radar payload provides high-resolution imagery that can penetrate adverse weather conditions, battlefield obscurants, camouflage and light foliage, allowing radar-enabled area searches over land and sea. (February)
Electronic fuel injection is successfully flight-tested on the heavy fuel engine equipped Integrator, providing overall improvements—especially in extreme temperatures and at high altitudes, including mountainous terrain. (January)
Integrator demonstrates improved operations security with advanced encryption standard (AES) capable digital data link. (December)
The Insitu Integrator UAS successfully demonstrates single-channel ground-to-air radio system (SINCGARS) capabilities during a communications relay payload test flight in eastern Oregon. Communications relay supported by an airborne asset is essential in situations where line-of-sight obstructions exist. (October)
Insitu completes Integrator flight demonstrations as part of the competition for the small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS / Tier II) contract by the United States government. (June)