Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) are now an integral part of most armed-forces’ operations, and learning how to operate these systems requires time and intensive training. In the case of the latest model of the RQ-7BV2 Shadow UAV, six weeks of training by the North Carolina National Guard’s Detachment 1, D Company 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion near Fort Bragg, N.C. revealed many of the impressive capabilities of the new Shadow (see photo).
“The Shadow as a platform brings reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, which gives us capabilities for our military intelligence company in support of the 30th Brigade,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen Isaacs, the Detachment 1 commander, regarding this second version of the well-equipped UAS. “The V2 gives us a much larger range. It gives us a longer flight time, which also gives us more time to be on target.”
This latest version of the Shadow meets NATO requirements for interoperability with other military electronic systems and provides enhanced security against jamming and cyberattacks. The latest improvements impressed Sgt. Joseph Patton, a unit trainer and operator with Detachment 1. “It’s absolutely better,” said Patton. “From flying unmanned aircraft down-range and in combat, there have been instances of other people being able to see our feed and our video and this is going to completely mitigate that. This will keep our capabilities to us.”
The Shadow is but one type of UAS used by NATO forces, but is part of a system of men and machines that is being designed for full interoperability and communications compatibility.