Malaysian Navy launches Unmanned Aerial System to boost surveillance

According to a press release published by The Borneo Post on March 4, 2021, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) launched the 601 Squadron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) at the Sepanggar Naval Base in Sepanggar. Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany said RMN had received 12 units of ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) aircraft from the United States government under the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 American-made ScanEagle UAS Unmanned Aerial System (Picture source: The Borneo Post)

The ability of the aircraft, which provides real time data and requires minimal crew involvement, can increase the RMN’s ability in carrying out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in high-risk waters in Malaysia.

Mohd Reza said the RMN plan is to acquire more UAS ScanEagle which can enhance their military and security system in the country.

The UAS ScanEagle is a Boeing-Insitu aircraft built by the US government for Malaysia through the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).

The system was first accepted by the RMN on May 6, 2020 which includes six aircraft, two launchers, two skyhook and three ground-control-station (GCS) worth RM180 million.

The operation of UAS will provide the RMN with added advantage in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance throughout Malaysian’s waters as well as increase Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

The ScanEagle has a 3.1 m wingspan, a length of 1.4 m, a weight of 20 kg and can fly at a speed up to 150 km/h, with an average cruising speed of 89 km/h. Block D aircraft featured a higher-resolution camera, a custom-designed Mode C transponder and a new video system. A Block D aircraft, flying at Boeing's test range in Boardman, Oregon, set a type endurance record of 22 hours, 8 minutes.

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