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Insitu ScanEagle drone
Insitu’s winged ScanEagle drone is prepared for launch during a wildfire. (Insitu Photo)

Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing that develops and manufactures drones, said it made a round of layoffs this week to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market.

Jennifer Beloy, a spokeswoman for Insitu, would not say how many jobs were affected. The Seattle Times reported that Insitu is cutting about 15 percent of its workforce, or roughly 200 jobs.

The company, which Boeing acquired in 2008 for a reported purchase price of about $400 million, has long focused on being the market leader, Beloy said. However, the drone market has become more challenging, and Insitu felt it needed to be leaner in order to stay competitive.

Beloy added that the company is offering resources to help people laid off transition to other jobs.

Insitu is based in Bingen, Wash., and it is known for the winged ScanEagle drones that are launched via catapult. The drones are used by the U.S. military for surveillance of battles and the Coast Guard for maritime surveillance.

Two summers ago, Insitu partnered with FireWhat, a California-based company that focuses on monitoring natural resources with Geographic Information Systems; and Esri, the global market leader in GIS software, on an initiative to use the drones to monitor wildfires. 

Insitu is led by CEO Esina Alic, who took the job last year. In between an eight-year stint as a vice president at Insitu and her time as CEO, Alic was an executive at Adidas in Germany.

The Times reported that Insitu recently came up short in a competition to provide the U.S. Army with a new type of drone scout. In a “fly-off” with other drone companies, the Insitu drone crashed during several field tests.

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