Archive for October 25, 2010

AFGHANISTAN: Increased Demand for Small Unmanned Aircraft

Unmanned Aircraft Needs in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers fighting Afghan insurgents, particularly in the volatile southern part of the country, are requesting more small unmanned aircraft to help them monitor large areas with a limited number of troops.

“The fight in Afghanistan is different from Iraq – particularly in the south,” Col. Gregory Gonzalez, the Army’s program manager for unmanned aircraft systems, tells a blogger’s roundtable. “We’re seeing an increased demand for small UASs.” Speaking from the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, Gonzalez says the small drones are needed by platoon-sized units that have to cover large areas.

The smaller, hand-launched UASs, like Aerovironment‘s Raven and the slightly larger Puma — which can operate from land or sea – have a “huge impact” on small unit operations, according to Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, he says, the Army has deployed to Afghanistan within the last month, quick reaction capability UAS unit equipped with missile-armed drones. The platoon-size QRC units are equipped with four Hellfire-armed Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft. The Gray Eagles, modified General Atomics’ MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft, are being deployed in support of Army special operations forces, Gonzalez says, declining to go into specifics.

October 25, 2010 at 10:55 am Leave a comment


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