Insitu announces contracts, new technology at air show




Bingen-based unmanned aircraft maker Insitu Inc. on Wednesday announced two new contracts and introduced its newest technology system at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England.

The company’s Australia-based subsidiary, Insitu Pacific, has signed contracts with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan and with the Republic of Singapore Navy to deliver ScanEagle drones. Under its agreement with Mitsubishi, Insitu will deliver ScanEagles to the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force for “comprehensive operational evaluation,” a defense industry term used when testing equipment for suitability and effectiveness.

In Japan, the ScanEagles are used for ground defense force operations to assist in disaster recovery, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

In its agreement with the Republic of Singapore Navy, the delivery of ScanEagle systems are to be accompanied by training, logistics, ship installation and maintenance support. In that country, the ScanEagle unmanned systems are to be fitted on missile corvettes, the fastest ships in the Republic of Singapore Navy’s fleet.

Dollar values of the contracts were not released by Insitu Inc., a Boeing Co. subsidiary, which employs about 800 people in communities up and down the Gorge, including Bingen, Hood River, Ore., White Salmon, Stevenson and Vancouver.

At the air show, Insitu also introduced its new Common Open-mission Management Command and Control system, which enhances the ability of third parties to operate ScanEagle unmanned aircraft.

The Farnborough Airshow, held this year from July 9-15, is an annual trade show and public air show attended by key airline industry figures and governments. In 2010, the show added unmanned aircraft exhibits, as well as trade booths from commercial spacecraft makers. The show draws more than 1,400 exhibitors from 40 countries and 120,000 trade visitors, according to the its website.

Demand has steadily increased for products made by Insitu, which was founded in 1994 and purchased by Boeing in 2008. The company generated $400 million in revenue in 2010, up from $148 million in 2009. It announced plans in December to add two new buildings to its Bingen campus at the Port of Klickitat on the Washington side of the Columbia River.