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Military Capabilities

US solicitation reveals Philippines to be ScanEagle operator

07 June 2017

A US Navy solicitation has shown the Philippines to be a hitherto-unknown operator of the Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The Insitu ScanEagle UAV seen at the company's test facility in eastern Oregon. The Philippines now has been revealed to be an operator of the type, after a solicitation for a follow-on order was posted online by the US Navy. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)The Insitu ScanEagle UAV seen at the company's test facility in eastern Oregon. The Philippines now has been revealed to be an operator of the type, after a solicitation for a follow-on order was posted online by the US Navy. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

The contract notification award issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 6 June covers a follow-on requirement for an undisclosed number of ScanEagle systems for the Philippines government. The country previously had not been known to field the type.

The ScanEagle aircraft is 1.2 m long, has a wingspan of 3 m, and is launched using a pneumatic catapult. It has a service ceiling of 10,000 ft and an endurance of more than 20 hours. The ScanEagle is equipped with electro-optic, infrared, and high-resolution video cameras that enable the operator to track stationary and moving targets.

Beyond the aircraft, the Philippines deal, valued at USD13.5 million, will include spares, support equipment, tools, training, and support services. No further details were disclosed.

A 'system' typically comprises multiple air vehicles (upwards of 12 in some cases), as well as associated pneumatic launchers and Skyhook recovery apparatus. Based on the procurements of other nations - in 2014 Yemen signed for a system of 12 ScanEagle vehicles for USD11 million - the Philippines' follow-on system is likely to be made up of about 15 vehicles.

As part of a delivery of counter-insurgency (COIN) equipment from the United States, the Philippine armed forces are known to previously have taken delivery of an AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven UAS comprising three air vehicles. Also, two General Atomics RQ-1 Predator unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) were reported to have been registered with the national security advisor, and while it is not clear whether these have become air force assets, Jane's World Air Forces notes that they now may be assigned to the 15th Strike Wing at Danilo Atienza Air Base.

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