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Mideast clients keen on buying Boeing drones

Bernd Debusmann Jr. (Chief Reporter)
bernd@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 24, 2015 | Last updated on September 24, 2015 at 09.48 am
Mideast clients keen on buying Boeing drones
An Integrator drone produced by a Boeing subsidiary flies over a target. It will be showcased at the Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi next year.

(Supplied)

A 2014 market study by the US-based Teal Group estimated that annual global UAV expenditures - driven by military sales - will double from $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion by 2024.

Boeing subsidiary Insitu hopes to sell surveillance drones to 12 to 15 Middle Eastern customers and will display them at next year's Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (Umex) in Abu Dhabi, according to company officials.

Insitu produces the ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which has the ability to fly unnoticed over targets for periods of up to 24 hours at altitudes of up to 5,950 metres (19,521 feet). It first saw active combat service during the battle of Fallujah, Iraq, in November and December 2004.

Since then, the aircraft has amassed over 800,000 hours of combat flight time in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also contributed to the mission to rescue Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pilots in 2009.

Speaking to a group of reporters visiting an Insitu test facility in Washington recently, Insitu business development manager Mark Russell said the company was seeking deals with several countries in the Middle East, which he declined to specify by name.

"There are between 12 and 15 active pursuits going on right now," he said, noting that systems are "already active" in the region. "What I am talking about is those who have a stated interest in buying the system."

One single unit sold by Insitu comprises six ScanEagles and four, slightly larger Integrator drones.

Russell said that although Insitu will not be presenting its ScanEagles or Integrators at November's Dubai airshow, they will be present at Umex. He added that on a recent visit to the UAE's General Headquarters, he was told that His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had requested that Insitu drones be present at Umex. 

The growing importance of remotely operated systems was reflected at this year's International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), where for the first time Umex was included as a separate exhibition area. Over 30 manufacturers of unmanned aerial, nautical and ground systems participated.

A 2014 market study by the US-based Teal Group estimated that annual global UAV expenditures - driven by military sales - will double from $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion by 2024.

- bernd@khaleejimes.com

author

Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Originally from Mexico City, I've been in Dubai since January 2015. Before arriving in in the UAE I worked as a general news reporter in TV and print in Mexico City, NYC and Washington DC. I'm interested in defence issues, politics, technology, aviation and history. In my spare time i enjoy traveling and football - I'm a keen fan of Chelsea FC. I developed an interest in the Middle East traveling through Jordan and the West Bank. I have a BA in Political Science from Dickinson College in the USA and an MA in International Journalism from City University London.





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