Scan Ea­gle & In­te­gra­tor – May be Made in In­dia

The of­fer of drones from In­situ Pa­cific, Aus­tralia, is ex­pected to dra­mat­i­cally change the sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the In­dian mar­itime se­cu­rity agen­cies and forces de­ployed on bor­ders to pre­vent ter­ror­ist in­fil­tra­tion

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By Ran­jit Ku­mar ]

If ne­go­ti­a­tions with In­dian de­fence and armed forces of­fi­cials pro­ceed well, In­dia could soon be pro­duc­ing the most ad­vanced In­te­gra­tor and ScanEa­gle drones. The In­dian Navy and the In­dian Army want to de­ploy these sur­veil­lance drones for keep­ing a close watch from the sky on any sur­rep­ti­tious move­ments not only in the coastal ar­eas but also on the high seas and land bor­der ar­eas. These un­manned aerial sys­tems (UAS) can very ef­fec­tively watch and lo­cate the launch pads of the ter­ror groups, who are ready for in­fil­tra­tion into In­dia, specif­i­cally in Jammu and Kash­mir ( J&K).

De­signed, de­vel­oped and pro­duced by In­situ Pa­cific, the Aus­tralia-based fully-owned sub­sidiary of the Boe­ing Com­pany, it has of­fered these highly ad­vanced and most ef­fec­tive mar­itime and over­land sur­veil­lance sys­tems to the In­dian armed forces, which will greatly boost the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of In­dian se­cu­rity agen­cies to keep a close watch on the Pak­istani ter­ror­ist in­fil­tra­tion from across the line of con­trol and the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in J&K. The com­pany de­scribes the ScanEa­gle as ag­ile, vir­tu­ally un­de­tectable, and on sta­tion un­til the job is done. Ac­cord­ing to a com­pany of­fi­cial, the hard­work­ing ScanEa­gle de­liv­ers per­sis­tent im­agery on land or at sea at a frac­tion of cost of other sur­veil­lance meth­ods. These drones can keep con­tin­u­ous sur­veil­lance day and night. The In­te­gra­tors

are the lat­est un­manned aerial sys­tems with the abil­ity to carry out longer mis­sions with larger pay­loads. The In­te­gra­tor has an empty struc­ture weight of 36+ kg with a max­i­mum pay­load of 18 kg and a max­i­mum take-off weight of 61.2 kg in­clud­ing the fuel. This UAS is pow­ered by re­cip­ro­cat­ing pis­ton en­gine de­vel­op­ing eight horse­power and runs on heavy fuel or auto gas. The ve­hi­cle is de­signed for a max­i­mum speed of 90 knots with a ser­vice ceil­ing of 20,000 feet. Though af­ter the 26/11 Mumbai ter­ror at­tack, the In­dian Navy and the Coast Guard have de­ployed many sys­tems like au­to­matic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tems (AIS) in the over 7,000-km-long coast­line, the two cat­e­gory of drones on of­fer from In­situ Pa­cific is ex­pected to dra­mat­i­cally change the sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the In­dian mar­itime se­cu­rity agen­cies and forces de­ployed on bor­ders to pre­vent ter­ror­ist in­fil­tra­tions.

Dur­ing a visit to the In­situ fa­cil­ity in Bris­bane, a se­nior of­fi­cial of the com­pany Brad Jeis­mann re­vealed that the com­pany is en­gaged in se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion with In­dian pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies to set up pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in In­dia for sup­ply of not only to the In­dian armed forces but also for ex­ports. Ac­cord­ing to Jeis­mann: “Any ac­qui­si­tion of un­manned aerial sys­tems would con­sider the over­all ar­chi­tec­ture of the sys­tem and not just the plat­form. We have had a num­ber of dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of In­dian com­pa­nies on what could be pos­si­ble to sup­port our Make and Buy In­dia strat­egy. It has been re­ally en­light­en­ing to go ahead and con­duct these dis­cus­sions. We have been quite pos­i­tive that we can pro­duce some el­e­ments in the coun­try.”

The ScanEa­gle has been un­der pro­duc­tion since early last decade and in use with the US and Aus­tralian mar­itime agen­cies since the mid­dle of last decade. The ScanEa­gle was de­ployed with US Mar­itime com­mand in 2004 and a year later US Navy ac­quired these UAS. In 2006 the Aus­tralian Navy de­ployed the ScanEa­gle. The US Air Force also ac­quired these UAS in 2008. In­situ has been con­stantly en­gaged in en­hanc­ing its sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties and it has now evolved into a most ef­fec­tive aerial tool to keep a track on the in­trud­ing ves­sels from the sea. The ScanEa­gle has by now ac­cu­mu­lated over 7,00,000 com­bat fly­ing hours. Also de­scribed as ‘low al­ti­tude low en­durance un­manned air­craft sys­tem’, the ScanEa­gle has lat­est tech­nolo­gies that in­clude the syn­thetic aper­ture radar, sig­nals in­tel­li­gence and elec­tro-op­ti­cal in­frared pay­loads. With these ad­vanced sys­tems on­board, the UAS au­to­mat­i­cally de­tects, high­lights and tracks sea sur­face con­tacts in­clud­ing fast boats, small wooden and rub­berised ves­sels and even peo­ple on­board these in­signif­i­cant look­ing boats. The UAS pro­vides thumb­nail im­ages and lo­ca­tions of de­tected ob­jects for sen­sor op­er­a­tors. These on­board sys­tems en­able cross-cu­ing of other sen­sors for in­ter­ro­ga­tion and clas­si­fi­ca­tion. Ex­plain­ing its ca­pa­bil­i­ties, Brad said that it al­lows pas­sive search and track­ing for covert en­vi­ron­ments such as drug in­ter­dic­tion and even sub­ma­rine periscope de­tec­tion. With 24 hours con­stant scan­ning ca­pa­bil­i­ties it can over­see eight times faster and eight times larger ar­eas than the cur­rent avail­able UAS. This is why these UAS have been widely de­ployed even in the AfPak ar­eas. It can fo­cus very closely over 30 nau­ti­cal miles area and no small fish­ing boat can es­cape its eyes. With night vi­sion and dual imag­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the UAS while ob­serv­ing land ar­eas, can even read car num­ber plates and see the driver sit­ting in­side. Even if some­body is hid­ing in the shadow of a tree, the ScanEa­gle and In­te­gra­tor can ob­serve that per­son closely. Hence, these UAS have been found to be very ef­fec­tive in keep­ing a close watch over bor­der ar­eas to pre­vent any in­tru­sion of ter­ror­ist el­e­ments or even drug smug­glers.

The ScanEa­gles are 5.1 feet long and 10.2 feet wing­span, with a max­i­mum take-off weight of 22 kg with a per­for­mance ceil­ing of 19,500 feet and max­i­mum hor­i­zon­tal speed of 80 knots, re­quires only 60 watt on­board power source. The UAS has soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tion with state-of-the-art user in­ter­face which pro­vides full mo­tion video (FMV) and pro­cess­ing, ex­ploita­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion (PED) tools. These en­hance and im­prove the FMV us­ing fea­tures such as video sta­bil­i­sa­tion and au­to­matic con­trast en­hance­ment to get the most of col­lected im­agery. These trans­form raw data into ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence us­ing the soft­ware ex­ploita­tion tools en­abling ac­cu­rate real world mea­sure­ments. The sys­tem fea­tures plug-and-play com­put­ers, vi­sion and meta­data pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to ex­tri­cate, im­prove, edit or delete in­for­ma­tion con­tained in me­dia or meta- data. Hence the UAS pro­vides small foot­print so­lu­tion for com­mand and con­trol of un­manned ve­hi­cles and pay­loads. It en­ables a sin­gle operator to op­er­ate mul­ti­ple un­manned ve­hi­cles from one work­sta­tion and man­age ve­hi­cle sen­sor com­mand and con­trol fea­tures on open ar­chi­tec­ture de­sign that is eas­ily mod­i­fied us­ing the soft­ware de­vel­op­ment kit. The de­sign­ers of In­te­gra­tor and ScanEa­gle de­scribe these as multi-mis­sion ca­pa­bil­ity plat­forms which can op­er­ate in very dense en­vi­ron­ments. ScanEa­gle and In­te­gra­tor UAS can be launched from a very small 18-me­tre op­er­a­tional craft or re­search ves­sel. These UAS have a very flex­i­ble hub and spoke con­fig­u­ra­tions at an offshore base and cre­ate an ad hoc com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work to keep ground troops aware and in­formed. The UAS has sur­veil­lance range of over 200 km.

Ag­ile and vir­tu­ally un­de­tectable: ScanEa­gle

Ver­sa­tile UAV: In­te­gra­tor UAS for land and sea

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