FORT PICKETT, Va. --
U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion,
6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), participated in
RQ-11 Raven small unmanned aircraft system sustainment and intelligence interoperability
training during the MEU’s Realistic Urban Training (RUT) at Fort Pickett, Va., Aug.
The Marines learned how they can utilize the ground sensor
platoon (GSP) and collection tools like the Raven to increase their
capabilities, said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Daniel Bergen, Raven sustainment training
officer-in-charge and native of Riverdale, Utah.
The unmanned aircraft is transported in two backpacks and
operated by at least two people, said Bergen.
“The Raven has day, as well as night, capabilities,” said
Bergen. “We can have live video, as well as picture as far away as two to 10
Marines practiced controlling two Ravens as the GSP Marines
placed their sensors around the area.
“We are able to deploy our sensors in areas that Marines
cannot necessarily stay all the time, but they need that area monitored,” said Cpl.
Tim Thompson, 22nd MEU GSP team leader and native of Valdosta, Ga. “We can
employ our sensors and leave them out there for months at a time.”
GSP Marines demonstrated how their equipment works and can
be employed. The Marines use several different tools to monitor their areas of
“Our go-to sensor is the (encoder and transmitter unit)
II,” he said. “Basically, with the ETU II we can detect vibrations. The sensors
can pick up four different types of activations: personnel, wheeled vehicle,
tracked vehicle and unknown types of vehicle.”
He added that the different sensors could command each
other to activate and, depending on the arrangement of the sensors, the
movement objects, pattern-of-life and troop movements can be determined.
The combination of the Raven, ground sensors and other
intelligence collection assets give the Marines more situational awareness of
“This is my first time using the Raven,” said Lance Cpl.
Joseph L. Taffe III, battalion intelligence analyst. “I think it’s a fantastic
platform. It is small, easy to pack and carry. It is always more efficient to
have more than one perspective on an objective. Having something orbiting in
the air around the objective is another advantage. You have an eyeball that is
moving 360 degrees around the compound; that is just going to make actions that
MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of
responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based,
expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions
across the full range of military operations.