By Sgt. Cody Harding, USDS Public AffairsFebruary 18, 2010
The RQ-11 Raven miniature unmanned aerial vehicle provides Iraqi troops on the ground quick, accurate aerial surveillance to support operations and assess potential threats.
With a 6-mile range and the ability to see over a large area, forces on the ground can use the information to maneuver, locate targets and gain intelligence vital to their mission.
Now, with help from C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Brigade, the Iraqi Army's 32nd Brigade is learning how to take the Raven system into combat and deploy it successfully to support their operations as U.S. Forces move to a supporting role in the security of Iraq.
During the training, Iraqi Army soldiers learn how to assemble the 4-pound MUAV, establish a link with the computer system, set waypoints and launch the Raven into the air. The Iraqi troops also attend classroom training to familiarize them with the specifics of the system.
First Lieutenant Lee Webb, the mortar platoon leader for C Troop, said that the training serves a twofold purpose by teaching the IA soldiers not only how to operate the system, but also how the system can be used to increase their abilities in the field.
"It allows them to broaden the scope of their operations and gives them more intelligence gathering assets than just their eyes or driving around," said Webb, from Virginia Beach, Va.
The Raven system is scheduled to see deployment during the upcoming March elections, when the Iraqi Army and Police will provide security for the people and polling sites.
Spc. Sam Kim, the Raven operator for C Troop, said that the training has been progressing well and that he's confident the Iraqi soldiers will have no problems running the system once their training is complete.
The Iraqi troops have learned how to operate the system quickly, despite the computer program that operates the Raven being only in English, said Webb.
"It's been great for Soldiers in our platoon as well," Webb said. "To be able to see how confident they are and how quickly they've been able to learn. There's been a lot of mutual respect that's been built here."