The US Marine Corps first Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company's (ANGLICO) marines have successfully demonstrated the RQ-11B Raven unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities, as part of the mountain roundup exercise, at Saylor Creek Range.
During the exercise, which is a part of German Air Force Tornado Fighter Weapons Instructor Course Mission Employment Phase, marines from first ANGLICO used the system in front of forward fire teams.
The RQ-11B Raven is a small, hand-launched, remote-controlled system designed to provide day and night real-time video imagery, reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.
First ANGLICO forward observer from Clinton, marine lance corporal Nicholas Thompson said the Raven unmanned system is used for taking photos and video of enemy positions.
"We can easily fly it into places where the enemy may or may not be, in order to gather strategic reconnaissance information," Thompson said.
First ANGLICO forward observer from San Bernardino, marine lance corporal William Thornton, said the stealthy, reconnaissance tool can assist in protecting marines and comple the mission successfully, when used correctly.
"After our forward teams move out, we can launch the Raven to specific grid sites and have eyes on what the teams will encounter within minutes," Thornton said.
Weighing 4.5lb, the RQ-11B Raven features advanced avionics and GPS navigation; it can be operated manually or programmed for autonomous operation.
Capable of launching in just minutes by hand, the AeroVironment-manufactured Raven can land itself by auto-piloting to a near hover, without requiring carefully prepared landing strips.
Fitted with colour video electro-optic camera to capture imagery of the battlefield, the UAV features an infra-red night vision camera, aside-mounted infra-red camera and is powered a single Aveox 27/26/7-AV electric motor.
Image: US Marines work together to put together the RQ-11B Raven. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.