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Shadow UAV enhances surveillance capabilities at Saber Junction 17


By Sgt. Devon Bistarkey

HOHENFELS, Germany (May 10, 2017) — “Shadow is airborne at this time,” radios U.S. Army Sgt. Phillip Marlowe, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) crew chief, UAV Platoon Delta Troop, Regimental Engineer Squadron (RES), 2d Cavalry Regiment, signifying the successful launch of a RQ-7B Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) during Saber Junction 17 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, May 10, 2017.

Once airborne, the Shadow UAV is capable of up to six hours of flight time providing live areal imagery directly to the Regimental Tactical Operations Center (RTOC).

“As a regimental asset we provide eyes forward,” said 1st Lt. Chelsea Pellicano, UAV platoon leader, RES.

Serving as an Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, or ISR, platform information gathered by the Shadow UAV directly supports troop efforts on ground as part of the rotational training exercise evaluating the regiment’s ability to conduct unified land operations.

Part of land operations includes pulling security and avoiding detection — two challenges Delta Troop had to adjust for since their arrival here.

“Normally we operate and launch from an airstrip, but here, in order to make the training more realistic, we have positioned ourselves in concealment maneuvering our Ground Control Station (GSC) from cover to a flight position and then back into cover,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Sutton, UAV operations officer.

Discipline in their position has allowed the platoon to remain undetected by oppositional forces approaching the end of the exercise, an accomplishment Platoon Leader, 1st Lt. Chelsea Pellicano is proud of her team for.

“Operating with a crew of 15, half our typical size, we adapted our launch position in a challenging terrain all while remaining tactical, hidden and functional,” said Pellicano

Focusing on quick change over times, from launch to land, along with maintaining the three Shadow UAV systems, the team has worked together to run continuous missions during the two-week training exercise. Flight operations include two daytime launches and two night launches. Those missions deliver an intelligence payload along with the crew’s ability to coordinate direct fires with aviators.

In addition to an ISR platform, the Shadow UAV conducts man-unmanned teaming, or MUM-T, with Apaches by “lasering” on a target that can then guide the aircrafts hellfire missiles. By enabling pilots to locate and pursue targets rapidly the Shadow UAV adds another critical capability to the 2CR formation.

Training on this system here ensures that each time “Shadow is airborne” is radioed out; Delta Troop is ready to provide critical surveillance data and coordinate lethal force on the battlefield.


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