David Black The National
As the Farnborough International Airshow wrapped up this month, among orders won by the US aircraft making giant Boeing was a batch for its highly successful small, unmanned air vehicle, the ScanEagle.
Empty, it weighs slightly more than 12kg, has a wingspan of 3 metres and looks like a glorified remote-controlled model aircraft. But the ScanEagle is no toy and contracts from the Australian and Singapore navies as well as the Japanese Self Defence Force have been secured.
To listen to its makers, Boeing and its partner Insitu, the ScanEagle is a mini-miracle worker.
If you want to patrol your coastline, or your pipelines, require greater search and rescue reach, or need to watch your streets for urban unrest, this little fellow is the jack-of-all-trades, according to the promotional blurb.
It is also in demand, with Insitu reporting “additional contracts with Middle Eastern nations for the ScanEagle” had been agreed, without elaborating on the buyers.
So why all the secrecy? The answer is in its capability.