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26 February 2015

IDEX 2015: Insitu demonstrates INTEGRATOR

A subsidiary of Boeing, Insitu is present at both IDEX and UMEX, flying live demonstrations with the new INTEGRATOR at the Tarif airstrip as part of the latter. Building on experience it has gained with the widely acclaimed SCAN EAGLE platform, the larger INTEGRATOR has an reconfigurable internal bay, hereby offering a total of six payload spaces that can accommodate a wide range of sensors. The INTEGRATOR can take the EO900 imager that is also available for SCAN EAGLE and which offers a staggering 170X optical zoom. INTEGRATOR uses S, L, C band bandwidth to stream full motion video to a ground station, achieving a range of 50 to 75 miles when operating at cruise altitude, assuming that line of sight is maintained.

While displaying scale models in the US pavilion, Insitu demonstrated the INTEGRATOR at the Tarif airstrip during a live fly demo, impressing local dignitaries with the ease with which the aircraft is launched and retrieved. The company's patented SKYHOOK system is capable of retrieving Insitu's range of advanced UAVs in a very short period of time, hereby limiting interference with other possible flight operations. This comes in handy when operating from navy frigates, destroyers which also carry shipborne helicopters. The SKYHOOK is also compatible with small craft and Insitu officials indicated the system has even demostrated to be capable of being operated from small SOF riverine craft. In addition, flight safety is enhanced as the air vehicle approaches the ship from its flanks, moving away from the ship if an emergency were to happen unlike naval helicopters.

Forming the basis of the United States Marine Corps' RQ-21A BLACKJACK or Small Tactical UAS programme of record, INTEGRATOR has attracted a lot of attention from potential customers such as the Netherlands that are seeking a follow on system to the SCAN EAGLE UAS that are in use. Integrator is compatible with Scan Eagle's heavy launcher and retrieval system which would bring down costs.

Company officials would not comment on individual customers, however, they acknowledged that their unmanned solutions are used in the GCC region. It has also emerged, that Insitu is one of the contenders for a 50 aircraft requirement for the Indian Navy, which would be the equivalent of approximately 15 systems.
Pieter Bastiaans

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