The Coast Guard Cutter James’ (WMSL 754) crew offloaded approximately 54,500 pounds of cocaine and 15,800 pounds of marijuana,
worth approximately $1.06 billion, Feb. 17, 2022, in Port Everglades, Florida (US Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez).

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – February 17, 2022 – Insitu’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been used by the US Coast Guard (USCG) in drug interdiction missions that helped capture nearly $1 billion worth of illegal narcotics.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) on February 17 offloaded roughly 54,500 lbs of cocaine and approximately 15,800 lbs of marijuana from multiple Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea interdictions. The offload’s total value is worth about $1 billion.

The ship’s crew set new records during their 90-day patrol for the largest single cocaine interdiction at 10,915 lbs, worth $206.4 million. It was also the largest single marijuana interdiction at 3,962 lbs, worth $3.6 million.

The ScanEagle first deployed in 2004 supporting the US Marine Corps (USMC) in Iraq. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL-752) with the ScanEagle in 2017 became the first cutter to deploy small UAVs for an entire patrol. ScanEagle successes on USCG cutters in 2017 prompted USCG Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz to order the full national security cutter fleet to deploy the ScanEagle by the end of 2020.

By 2020, the ScanEagle directly contributed to the seizure of more than $4.5 billion in illegal narcotics, marking a 2x increase over previous years. Adm Schultz has hailed the ScanEagle as a “game-changer.” The aircraft has demonstrated maritime domain expertise, best-in-class endurance, maritime surface search, and runway independence.

The ScanEagle is the industry-leading UAV that invented the agile intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) category. It is an expeditionary, runway-independent aircraft that has an endurance of 12-18 hours. Over 3,000 ScanEagles have been produced and 26 nations use the aircraft. In addition to the USCG, the US Navy also operates the ScanEagle.

The ScanEagle has redefined ISR services for Group 2, long-endurance UAVs. The aircraft provides superior operational capability and reliability, with advanced payload options and rapid payload integration.

The ScanEagle provides persistent daytime and nighttime ISR in some of the most extreme environments in the world. Digital full motion video (FMV) provides the highest available ground resolution. The aircraft’s propulsion system is powered by heavy fuel increases in endurance without compromising payload weight.

The ScanEagle’s air-to-ground systems deliver stable communications up to 55 nm from a ground control station. Encrypted digital video and command and control (C2) data links offer increased ISR security. Open-architecture ground control station and advanced avionics increase operational capability, safety, and reliability.

Field-swappable payloads can be rapidly configured to support a wide range of missions, such as electronic warfare, ISR, communications relay, overwatch and targeting. The ScanEagle maximizes commonality with Insitu systems, reducing lifecycle and training costs. Insitu’s nearly two decades of training and supporting ScanEagle customers ensures efficiency and success.

Contact:  Pat host

Insitu Communications Specialist


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