Since time began the military and use of the technology within the sphere of national defense has often provided a signpost for technological innovation and progression. The Insitu ScanEagle is at both reflective of this tradition - and an acceptance to it. First beginning its life as a scouting drone used for fisherman in 2002, it was only in 2005 that US Military via the Boeing subsidiary Insitu came across it, saw it in operation - and felt they could build on it and its capabilities for the next generations.
In collaberation with Boeing, Insitu's biggest improvement was a reimagining of perhaps the biggest weakness of the ScnaEagle fixed wing drone. Essentially, while once in flight the ScanEagle was impressive, its previous method of takeoff was limited and frustrating. The new version of the ScanEagle has sought to correct this - making using of the Flying Launch and Recovery System (FLARES) - making it an easy launch and retrieval via use of a quadcopter.
While this is good for launches, it is simply fantastic for landings. Previously, a fixed wing drone’s landing required a suitable runway. While some drones would often make use of a parachute for their landings, even this was prone to imperfection, as they could get tangled in trees and bushes. Now with Insitu’s FLARES, a drone can be recovered in mid-air and returned safely to ground.
Accordingly, for a drone that has a cruising speed of 69mph - with a max speed of 92mph - and
the capability to remain within the sky for over 24 hours, the capacity to launch it in a more seamless way is a huge advancement and will surely add additional applications.