Success Story
Success Story

(U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Combatting The Flow Of Illicit Substances

Key takeaways

  • Finding, identifying and tracking drug trafficking vessels in the open ocean continues to be a challenge and priority for U.S. Coast Guard and partner navies.
  • ScanEagle sUAS equipped with next-generation optical and AI payloads help locate, surveil and track otherwise undetectable smugglers during day and night and in austere conditions.
  • In 2020 alone, ScanEagle played a critical ISR role in 53 interdictions and the seizure of over 48 tons of illicit narcotics worth an estimated $1.2 billion.

Full Story

The flow of illicit contraband across land and maritime borders continues to fund transnational criminal organizations and significantly threaten the national security of the U.S. and its allies. Numerous U.S. agencies along with allied and international partner agencies cooperate in counter-drug operations to combat transnational organized crime, keep drugs off the streets, and save lives. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) plays a vital role in the coordination and enforcement of these efforts.

One of the biggest challenges in combatting organized narco-trafficking is simply finding and tracking the smugglers themselves, especially in vast expanses of open ocean. While the USCG and partner navies have had success monitoring the waters near the launch and landing points along common trafficking routes, once the smugglers enter the open ocean, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. This is where persistent, autonomous ISR comes in. Adding small UAS (sUAS) with advanced payloads to the fight has resulted in a marked increase in detection and prosecution of pangas, submersibles, and other hard-to-detect LPVs smuggling cocaine, marijuana, and other controlled substances.

ScanEagle sUAS has been supporting ongoing counter-narcotics Joint Operations in WESTPAC, EASTPAC, SOUTHCOM, and NORTHCOM. In 2020 alone, ScanEagle was deployed on 14 NSC patrols and flew over 2600 hours for the USCG, playing a critical ISR role in 53 interdictions and assisting crews in the capture of 132 narco-terrorists and the seizure of over 48 tons of illicit narcotics with an estimated worth of $1.2 billion, marking a 2X increase over previous years.

USCG Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz hails ScanEagle as a “game changer”*, and Vice Adm. Linda Fagan considers it a “key enabler”** in the Western Pacific and the High Latitudes.  In a statement published in Military News, Adm. Schultz said Commanders who have used the ScanEagle have told him they “don’t ever want to sail without ScanEagle again.”

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jasmine Mieszala)

With runway independence and persistent daytime and nighttime ISR, ScanEagle sUAS provides superior maritime surface search capability for detection and monitoring in the maritime domain. The success of ScanEagle on USCG Cutters in 2017 prompted USCG Commandant Adm. Schultz to order the full National Security Cutter (NSC) fleet to deploy ScanEagle by the end of the 2020 to meet their operational need for persistent surveillance in support of national security and law enforcement. Insitu is proud to have worked closely with the USCG to meet this expedited timeline for full deployment.

ScanEagle’s advanced payload options and rapid payload integration support a wide range of missions. With cutting-edge technology such as Dual Imager, EO950, and ViDAR (autonomous maritime surface search), the ability to fly undetectable at low range with low RCS, and stable, encrypted air-to-ground communications up to 55 nm, ScanEagle delivers the ultimate flexibility in a small, affordable package. With over 1.2 million flight hours, ScanEagle is the industry’s most trusted long-endurance sUAS. Insitu’s full suite of ground-up support, training, and deployed operations, as well as tested and mature supply chains, stand behind every system we sell.

ScanEagle FMV of interdiction – Video by USCG (Released)

*Defense One Radio Interview June 4, 2020.

** Sea Power, August 28, 2020

Read More…

Insitu Expands Support of USCG Counter-narcotics Operations

June 09, 2020
Insitu Expands Support of USCG Counter-narcotics Operations BINGEN, Wash., June 9, 2020 – Building on a…

Capabilities Demonstrated

Maritime Domain Experience
Runway Independence
Best-in-Class Endurance
Maritime Surface Search
  • SCanEagle On Deck of Berholf With Seized Narcotics
  • ScanEagle on USCG flight deck with interdicted narcotics
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