The Coast Guard is equipping its National Security Cutters with Scan Eagle Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), but has yet to buy the systems. The deployed systems are contractor owned and operated. Should the Coast Guard decide to buy these systems we have a rough indication of the going rate. The RQ-21, referred to in the contract reported below, are similar in concept to the Scan Eagle, but a bit larger (135 pounds max takeoff weight vs 58 pounds).
This from the U.S. Department of Defense Daily Digest Bulletin, Contracts for Sept. 14, 2022.
Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, is awarded a $191,835,973 firm-fixed-price modification (P00002) to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N0001922D0038). This modification adds scope to procure 13 RQ-21A Blackjack air vehicles, 25 ScanEagle air vehicles, 48 RQ-21A and ScanEagle payloads and turrets, support equipment, spares and sustainment spares and tools in support of RQ-21A Blackjack and ScanEagle unmanned aircraft platforms for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Foreign Military Sales customers. Work will be performed in Bingen, Washington (88%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (12%), and is expected to be completed in June 2026. No funds will be obligated at the time of award; funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
It would not be unusual for the Coast Guard to piggy back on a DOD contract to procure these systems.
I can understand the Coast Guard’s decision to contract out rather than buy, because the technology has been moving incredibly fast. At some point in the not too distant future, we should have useful UAS operating from all our patrol vessels down to the Webber Class.