Photo: Robert Johnson — BI Military & DefenseB
Iran today claimed to have captured another U.S. drone. Whether or not that’s accurate remains to be seen, but what is true is that the ScanEagle drone was originally designed to help fisherman look for fish. It’s low cost, portable, long-endurance, and very effective for maritime surveillance.Able to fly over 20 hours on about one gallon of fuel, the ScanEagle is a key reconnaissance tool for U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf.
When Business Insider was aboard the USS Ponce off the coast of Iran in September for the international mine clearing exercises, the ship deployed a ScanEagle each morning and allowed us to document the process.
If Iran’s claims today are true and it did capture a ScanEagle, it might be most interested in its new cameras and video system that allow the drone to relay what it sees in vivid detail.
Here on the USS Ponce not far from the coast of Iran, the ScanEagle gets set up very early every day
The drone's 'SuperWedge' launcher is powered by pressurised air and faces off the deck toward shore — into the wind
In the evening, when the drone returns to the ship it's guided in by onboard GPS to within inches of that cable
And the tip of its wing snags like this — on what's called the SkyHook — and that's how it comes back to earth
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