Boeing to provide Marine UAVs

Boeing Co. has won a contract from the Marine Corps to send a pair of ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle mobile deployment units to Iraq, the company said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The First Marine Expeditionary Force will use the ScanEagles for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance during operational missions.

Each mobile deployment unit includes several UAVs, plus the necessary computers, communication links and ground equipment necessary. The ScanEagle is a joint development project between Chicago-based Boeing and The Insitu Group, Bingen, Wash.

"ScanEagle's ISR capabilities will give the warfighter an immediate, clear picture of the battlefield," said Kim Michel, director of Boeing's advanced unmanned systems division. "Additionally, its communications relay technology will allow Marines on the ground to more easily receive and share information."

Company officials said the ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance UAV that is designed to operate for more than 15 hours. It is four feet long and has a 10-foot wingspan. Future models will go for more than 30 hours, Boeing said.

The ScanEagle UAV first flew in 2002 and recently participated in the U.S. Joint Forces Command's Forward Look exercises from December 2003 to June 2004. Forward Look was a series of demonstrations and experiments to improve interoperability among multiple UAVs in operational scenarios.

With 2003 prime federal IT revenue of $3.4 billion, Boeing ranked No. 4 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue.

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