Twenty-three years of service in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) taught me the importance of having passion for the work you do and working as a team to succeed. Serving as one of the first Rescue Swimmers only reinforced this lesson, teaching me what it means to risk your life because you care so immensely about succeeding at the task you face. Knowing that my teammates were equally as invested in each mission gave me the confidence to never quit, and never concede to failure.
Today, I am fortunate to be part of an organization that genuinely embodies this same disposition and zealously works to achieve team success for its diverse global customers.
When I think of our relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard thus far, two instances come to mind that demonstrate our dedication to serving this branch of the military. Most recently in the summer of 2015, Insitu collaborated with the Coast Guard to conduct a multi-asset search-and-rescue demonstration in Alaska’s Northwest Passage. During the exercise, dubbed “Arctic Shield,” our ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was launched from a land-based site and control of the aircraft was later handed off to the USCGC HEALY. When ScanEagle located the simulated downed aircraft and survivor in a raft, the UAV provided over watch while a Coast Guard MH-60T helicopter successfully and safely executed the rescue.
Prior to Arctic Shield, in July of 2013, our team completed an operational demonstration of ScanEagle on board the USCGC BERTHOLF National Security Cutter. During this nine-day exercise, our aircraft flew more than 90 hours and conducted two historic drug interdictions, which resulted in six detainees and the seizure of nearly 600 kilograms of cocaine.
While these cases demonstrate our ability to function efficiently and safely in conjunction with new and legacy Coast Guard assets, they also give testament to a broader theme – not only at Insitu, but across the industry and our Government partners. The global situation is ever-evolving, and with that evolution comes the industry-wide response of collaboration, innovation, and novel solutions to fill technological gaps, as these gaps emerge.
Developments in maritime activity, such as the growth of scientific research and global commerce in the Arctic region or increased threats to maritime boundaries, solicit the need for an efficient and sustainable wide-area search capability. Our ScanEagle UAV, for which a wide-area search capability is currently being developed, along with its automatic identification system (AIS), 24-hour endurance and runway independence, is a primary example of the innovation that occurs in our industry when a gap in technology emerges. Our industry’s dedication to providing solutions where solutions are needed propels the constant innovation that contributes to the success of missions like the two mentioned earlier, and the unforeseen missions that will inevitably arise.
The inspiration for these advancements comes from those who are at the tip of the spear. Just as my years in the Coast Guard taught me that my teammates and I could always rely on one another as we worked toward a shared mission, today I see that industry and defense work symbiotically toward developing ground-breaking capabilities for the unforeseen missions that we face as a team.
Photo taken by: Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant Devuyst