Malaysia receives first batch of six ScanEagle UAVs from US

Key Points

Malaysia has received the first six of 12 ScanEagle UAVs donated by the US under the latter’s Maritime Security Initiative Programme

This equipment will further bolster maritime surveillance capabilities of the Royal Malaysian Navy

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has received six ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under a US-sponsored capability building initiative.

The units are part of 12 units pledged to Putrajaya under the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) programme, which was first announced by then US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the 2015 iteration of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

“These UAVs will enhance the Royal Malaysian Navy’s ability to defend the country’s territorial integrity,” said the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on 7 May in a post on its official Facebook page. The equipment was received overnight, the embassy added in the post that is accompanied with images of the equipment handover.

The ScanEagle UAV has an overall length of 1.37 m, a wingspan of 3.11 m, and a maximum take-off weight of 20 kg. It can reach a maximum altitude of 5,945 m (19,500 ft), and is powered by a single piston engine and features a minimum endurance of 24 hours.

In terms of payload, the ScanEagle can be equipped with electro-optical imagers, long-wave infrared sensors, and X-band radars. The UAV is launched from a Mk 2 ‘wedge’ pneumatic catapult when operated on land and a low-pressure pneumatic catapult when deployed on board ships.

It is unclear if the RMN would deploy the ScanEagle from its naval vessels. But should this option be taken, these vessels will likely have to be equipped with the Insitu’s SkyHook retrieval system.

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