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Boeing Prepares First US Military ScanEagle Crews

The ScanEagle unmanned aerial system, developed in partnership with Insitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash., has logged more than 30,000 combat flight hours supporting U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations over the last two years.
by Staff Writers
St Louis MO (SPX) Mar 14, 2007
Boeing has graduated its first U.S. military ScanEagle crews from its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Training Center in Clovis, N.M.. The airmen, assigned to the U.S. Air Force 820th Security Forces Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., include three operators, two maintainers, a mission commander and a sensor operator.

"My team and I look forward to the start of an operational evaluation of the system to determine the best tactics for integrating ScanEagle into the mission of protecting Air Force people in a hostile environment," said Lt. Ben Worley of the 820th Security Forces Group.

The ScanEagle unmanned aerial system, developed in partnership with Insitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash., has logged more than 30,000 combat flight hours supporting U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations over the last two years. The new Air Force operators represent the first time the system will be directly controlled by military personnel.

"The students are leaving the training with the skills and confidence to implement a viable force protection capability for the Air Force," said Marshall Formby, director of training at the Boeing UAV Training Center. "The students have completed an intensive education in systems operation, aerodynamics, crew resource management, maintenance and tactics."

The ScanEagle system provides the user with the capability to observe targets from a safe distance and provide real-time information to the operator.

Although the platform was originally developed to provide commercial fishing fleets an affordable alternative to helicopters in searching for schools of fish, Boeing partnered with Insitu to integrate ScanEagle into military operations. Due to its small size, low cost and ability to operate without a runway, the system has evolved into a valuable tool in military operations.

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Israeli Air Force Unveils Long-Range Drone
Palmahim Air Base, Israel (AFP) March 07, 2007
The Israeli air force on Wednesday unveiled its first long-range unmanned aerial vehicle reportedly capable of carrying out reconnaissance missions thousands of kilometres away. The Heron is "a major leap forward for the Israel Defence Forces and is capable of tackling a variety of threats Israel is facing today," air force chief Major General Eliezer Shkedi told AFP at the drone's unveiling ceremony at Palmahim air force base in the centre of the country.

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