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Insitu lands contract to build craft for Iraq use

Contract could be valued at $381 million

The Boeing Co., working in partnership with The Insitu Group of Bingen, has received a new contract to build unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" contract is worth a minimum guaranteed $10.5 million, and will pay for the production of "intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services utilizing an unmanned aircraft system in support of the global war on terrorism."

The aircraft systems will primarily be used to support Marine Expeditionary Forces deployed in support of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and is expected to be completed by December 2007. With options, the length of the deal could stretch until December 2010.

Boeing and Insitu have had field representatives in the Iraq theater in recent years to support and operate the Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle from ships and ashore. The package has earned praise and a stream of contracts from the United States and Australia.

The ScanEagle UAV is produced in Bingen at the Port of Klickitat's business park at Bingen Point.

Insitu originally developed ScanEagle to track dolphins and tuna from fishing boats, but its characteristics -- including its small size, long endurance, automated flight patterns, and minimal launch/recovery requirements -- have made it especially effective in battlefield surveillance.

The small unmanned craft have also been adapted to a number of specialty roles, such as sniper locator and bio-warfare agent detection.

The contract includes options that could bring the cumulative value of the deal to more than $381 million.


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