Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Taffe III, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), intelligence analyst, launches an RQ-11 Raven small unmanned aircraft system during Raven sustainment and intelligence interoperability training as part of the MEU’s Realistic Urban Training at Fort Pickett, Va., Aug. 27, 2013. The Raven training allowed different elements within the battalion to learn how to effectively employ the vehicle’s capabilities. The 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada

Air, Land, Sea: 22nd MEU BLT utilizes UASs to increase capabilities

27 Aug 2013 | Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada

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. 27, 2013.

 

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 kilometers.”

 

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 responsibility.

 

“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 the battlefield.

 

“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 much easier.”

 

The 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.
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit