Rabu, 02 Mei 2012

Scan Eagle

Staff Sgt. Robert D. Custer, intelligence analyst, and Cumberland, Md., native, and Martin Susser, a native of White Salmon, Wash., who works for Insitu Group, and a ScanEagle operator, prepare the unmanned aerial vehicle for flight. They are part of a small detachment of Marines and civilians making up Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, from Cherry Point, N.C. The detachment is deployed here to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in western Iraq. ScanEagle weighs approximately 40 pounds and has a 10-foot wing span. The aircraft operates with a small engine, requiring a small amount fuel. Its 4-foot frame can remain airborne for more than 10 hours. Each drone is launched using a catapult system, which makes it runway independent and perfect for forward operating forces. Using the Global Positioning System, it is retrieved with a skyhook where the UAV catches a small, suspended rope. Saving lives is the number one mission for this small detachment. As they collect information on potential targets, the leaders on the ground decide what effective measures to take to minimize the risks against friendly forces. Spending almost 15 hours a day gathering information, the analysts provide a solid foundation to make tactical decisions. (Photo courtesy of Gunnery Sgt. Shannon Arledge)

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