Royal Malaysian Navy Insitu ScanEagle 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Debuts in South China Sea
Royal Malaysian Navy Insitu ScanEagle 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Debuts in South China Sea

Royal Malaysian Navy Insitu ScanEagle 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Debuts in South China Sea

The Royal Malaysian Navy’s Insitu ScanEagle 2 unmanned aerial vehicle took part in their first field training exercise with other Navy assets on October 26. The drones operated by the 601 Squadron were part of the Perang Borneo Siri 8/21 exercise, held in the South China Sea. Five Royal Malaysian Navy assets were part of the exercise as well, being the KD Selangor, KD Perak, KD Keris, KD Jerong dan KD Baung. In addition to training and evaluating sailor performance in the fields of navigation, communication and naval warfare, the Royal Malaysian Navy says that the exercise also served as a show of force in Eastern Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Royal Malaysian Navy formally stood up its first unit operating unmanned aerial vehicles at its Kota Kinabalu base in Sabah. The 601 Squadron will operate Boeing Insitu ScanEagle 2s, and is the first unit of any branch of the Malaysian Armed Forces to be stood up specifically to operate unmanned aerial vehicles. Malaysia is to receive 18 ScanEagle 2s, 2 launchers, 2 skyhooks and 3 ground control stations under the United States’ Maritime Security Initiative, with the remaining ScanEagles to be delivered by the end of next year. Asides from the unmanned aerial vehicles and their support equipment, training and maintenance will be supplied as well as resources needed to operate the ScanEagle 2s for up to 2,000 hours to meet Maritime Security Initiative requirements.

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Royal Malaysian Navy Insitu ScanEagle 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Debuts in South China Sea
A control station for the ScanEagle 2 unmanned aerial vehicle (Photo by Royal Malaysian Navy)

The Insitu ScanEagle 2 will assist Royal Malaysian Navy in maritime surveillance whilst the ministry is in the midst of looking to procure two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and medium altitude long endurance unmanned airborne system (MALE UAS). It said the country needed the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to patrol wide strategic routes along the Straits of Malacca, South China Sea and Sulu Sea. Besides the Royal Malaysian Navy, other enforcement agencies would also benefit from Insitu ScanEagle 2 UAVs as maritime surveillance capabilities and information sharing among enforcement agencies as well as the armed forces will be increased.

The Insitu ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for reconnaissance. The ScanEagle was designed by Insitu based on the Insitu SeaScan, a commercial UAV that was intended for fish-spotting. ScanEagle is a long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle with a flight endurance of over 20 hours used for battlefield intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance. Boeing subsidiary Insitu was awarded an almost $48 million contract for 34 Insitu ScanEagle 2 unmanned air vehicles for Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.

KD Selangor during Perang Borneo 8/21
The Royal Malaysian Navy warships during Perang Borneo 8/21
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