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Mini unmanned vehicle demonstrates capabilities for MAWTS-1 Marines

10th October 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


An unmanned aerial vehicle system was tested by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 personnel Oct. 1, to see how it could be incorporated into future Weapons and Tactics Instructor courses and Desert Talon exercises here.

The Unmanned Aerial System RQ-11 Raven B , the smallest of the systems employed by the Marine Corps, is used primarily by the Army and Corps' ground combat elements, and replaces the outdated Dragon Eye UAS.

Marine Corps aviation need to use systems like the Raven, said Gunnery Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, MAWTS-1 UAS division head. At MAWTS-1, the UAS department is trying to find the right balance to integrate UASs into aviation's advanced tactics schools, said Gonzalez.

The Raven weighs only 4 pounds, 1 pound lighter than the Dragon Eye, and has an assembled wingspan of 4 feet 2 inches, it can also be controlled remotely from up to 6.5 miles away, said Justin Cook, a Raven demonstrator.

"Right now the Raven is … an invaluable tool for the ground command to get advanced warning of things ahead they can't see," said Gonzalez. "What we are doing is giving and honest assessment of the Raven and looking at how it can be used in Marine aviation (in the future)."

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 is scheduled to aid in existing Marine aviation courses already during WTI and Desert Talon.

VMU-3 was established in September at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., making it the Corps third VMU squadron in the growing community.

"What I would like to see is for VMU-3 to come out and support the operations at the next WTI," said Gonzalez. "It will show the aviations side of the Marine Corps how they can be an asset."

VMU-3 would provide real-time video surveillance of existing WTI courses to their command and Marines calling close air support.

"If your not staying abreast of today's technological capabilities, you are falling behind, said Gonzalez. "The Pioneer, (a larger UAS), is 1980's technology. There are people with cell phones in their pockets more advanced than it."

The Shephard News Team


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