Insitu's ScanEagle UAS selected to provide fire suppression services across U.S.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has awarded a “first-of-its kind” contract to Insitu, so that the company can provide fire suppression services within the contiguous 48 states and Alaska using its ScanEagle UAS.
The UAS will help battle wildfires using geospatial mapping and full motion video.
Through the contract, Insitu will support manned aerial operations for a variety of scenarios, including fire suppression, search and rescue, and emergency management, as needed on a “call when needed” basis.
“We are honored that Insitu has been selected to bring our professional aviation, aerial data collection and analysis experience to assist the DOI as they strive to suppress devastating wildfires,” says Esina Alic, Insitu’s president and CEO.
Equipped with a variety of payloads including Infrared and electro-optical cameras, sensors, and a customized TK-5 Firewatch smart tactical mapping payload, ScanEagle will provide “near real-time fire line maps and wide-area, high-resolution imagery intelligence” to help with fire suppression planning.
Insitu notes that with these payloads onboard, ScanEagle can “fly the gaps,” as it can operate in dense smoke and darkness, when manned aircraft typically are grounded due to hazardous flying conditions for pilots.
Insitu’s ScanEagle UAS demonstrated its value when it comes to battling fires last year, during the nearly 50,000 acre Eagle Creek, Oregon fire, as well as during two wildfires in Northern California.
The UAS used aerial sensors that allowed for data gathering, analysis and dissemination to deliver critical situational awareness for incident commanders. This critical near-real time information ultimately allowed for “informed decision-making for more effectively and safely deploying firefighters.”
Additionally, ScanEagle provided near real-time full motion video and geospatial mapping to pinpoint hot spots and locate fire lines in the rugged terrain.