> our title:

Scan Eagle: the Silent Watcher Over Somalia

> original title:

"Scan Eagle": the Silent Watcher Over Somalia

(Source: Spanish Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 02, 2015)

(Issued in Spanish; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


Spanish sailors aboard the amphibious ship Galicia prepare to launch a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle. The UAV is widely used for surveillance missions, and has logged over 175 flight hours during the current deployment. (Spanish MoD photo)


Now over halfway into its deployment, the "Scan Eagle" unmanned air system of the Spanish navy, deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship "Galicia," has been producing some of the more valuable intelligence for the Naval Force of the European Union (EUNAVFOR) deployed on Operation Atalanta, in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

The system consists of four aircraft, one of which is specially designed for the acquisition of night images. The method of launching is a catapult, while landing is performed by means of a pole, into which the aircraft is "locked." A set of antennas is responsible for sending and receiving information between the control station and the plane in the air.

The system stands out for its ease of use and its high endurance, which allows it to operate continuously for more than 18 hours. It is specially designed for data acquisition, both imaging and video, both day and night.

To date, the 'Scan Eagle' has completed 175 flight hours during this operation Atalanta deployment, without suffering any notable damage.

From a control station located in the ship's flight hangar, the RPA is managed and controlled by operators from the newly formed Eleventh Squadron, part of the Naval Air Arm.

Above all, what makes it a valuable asset is both its discretion and its endurance, which means that t is difficult to detect from the ground while flying for very long times. Thus, the "Scan Eagle" provides commanders with real-time images of a target, which is of great help to decision-making.

Scan Eagle has carried out missions including intelligence operations on the northern coasts of Somalia in June, and later on the East Coast, to identify and locate possible illegal activities related to piracy in the coastal strip. The RPAs have come to collect imagery for over eleven hours without being detected at any time.

Aboard the BAA "Galicia", the part of the Embarked Air Unit (UNAEMB) dedicated to the Scan Eagle system consists of three officer pilots, plus three NCOs and one sailor who perform maintenance work and preparation for the flight.

The 'Scan Eagle' is the first RPA operating successfully from a Spanish navy vessel, and thus marks a milestone in our naval history.

This system has already been deployed in Afghanistan, where it operated from the advanced support base of Qala i Naw until the withdrawal of the Spanish contingent in 2013.

The Amphibious Assault ship 'Galicia' sailed from its home port in Rota on 20 April to take art in Operation Atalanta, the European Union mission combating piracy in the Indian Ocean. It is scheduled for relief next October 6, after which it will return, to its home port.

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