The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that it has signed a £30 million deal with Boeing subsidiary Insitu for the ScanEagle drone.
ScanEagle is an unarmed surveillance drone that is to be used in a maritime role by the Royal Navy. This latest contract makes the sixth type of unmanned drone that UK forces have in their arsenal with all three services – army, air force and navy – now operating unmanned drones.
MoD minister Philip Dunne said that the “continued investment in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems is essential to keeping our Armed Forces up-to-date with the latest capabilities.” However the ScanEagle is not being bought, rather it is being rented in a similar way that the UK is leasing the Israeli Hermes 450 drone for use in Afghanistan.
The contact, which lasts up until 2015, is for a “contractor-owned contractor-operated service” with civilian contractors operating the ScanEagle from onboard ship.
The ScanEagle is launched from catapult, has a range of around 100km and can stay aloft for up to 24 hours. Below is a video of ScanEagle in operation with the Dutch Navy.