'Eyes in the sky' help boots on ground
February 4, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-It's a bird; it's a plane...well, sort of. It's called the Shadow 200, a small tactical unmanned aerial vehicle that Soldiers assigned to the 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion are using to help support the Vanguard Brigade's current training and future combat missions.
A team of UAV specialists launched the pilot-less air vehicle from Evans Army Airfield, Jan. 27, providing intelligence information to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers conducting a platoon-level, live-fire exercise at a Fort Stewart training area.
The Shadow is intended to provide real-time surveillance coverage of a brigade's tactical operations for up to five hours while being undetectable, said Chief Warrant Officer Kelvin Miller, Company B, 4-3 BSTB.
"We see what troops on the ground may not see," he said, adding that the Shadow oversees both troop and enemy movement.
The system can recognize tactical vehicles during both day and night hours from an altitude of 8,000 feet. The video footage is streamlined to troop leaders on the ground who may have an obstructed line of sight.
"It really takes a lot of coordination to get that little airplane off the ground," Chief Warrant Officer Miller said.
His team of approximately 20 Soldiers is responsible for operating and maintaining the unmanned aerial systems for the entire 4th IBCT. Specialist Aaron Dermon, instructor operator, said he chose his military occupational specialty specifically to assist fellow Soldiers.
"The best part about my job is being able to help the boots on the ground," he said. "If I was on the ground, I would like to have as much information as possible. I'm glad to be here to help make a difference."