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Scan Eagle team members recover aircraft after demonstration
Team members from the 820th Security Forces Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., carry the Scan Eagle unmanned aircraft system after a demonstration to highlight its capabilities here Feb. 7. Air Force Special Operations Command is the lead command for SUAS and have been working with the team to prepare and certify them to employ the system in the near future. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Emily Moore)
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AFSOC leads way with small unmanned aircraft systems

Posted 2/12/2008   Updated 2/12/2008 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Buffy Galbraith
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

2/12/2008 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Air Force Special Operations Command, as the lead command for small unmanned aircraft systems, highlighted the capabilities of the Scan Eagle during a demonstration at the Eglin Air Force Base test range Feb. 7.

AFSOC has been training with the 820th Security Forces Group from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., since September 2007, to employ the system.

The Scan Eagle UAS has the wingspan of only 10 feet and weighs less than 30 pounds. It provides real-time direct situational awareness and force protection information for Air Force Security Forces Expeditionary teams. It is a portable system featuring three air vehicles, a ground control station, remote video terminal, and a launch and recovery system.

"The purpose of the demonstration was to prepare and certify security forces for Scan Eagle deployment," said Steve Bishop, who works in AFSOC's unmanned systems test and technology division. "Our folks have been with the team developing tactics, techniques and procedures in preparation for their first deployment."

The team is made up of seven pilots and sensor operators, all enlisted security forces Airmen, five maintainers, and two lead officers.

"As a security forces combat troop, we had no visual from up above," said Master Sgt. Bryan Williams, Scan Eagle team noncommissioned officer in charge. "Scan Eagle changes all that. It will save lives because it will give us the opportunity to see."

The Scan Eagle has already proven itself beneficial to the warfighter. In 2004, the Marine Corps enlisted the services of the UAS to protect Marines deployed in Iraq. Since then, the system has flown more than 40,000 combat hours supporting ground and air forces and has saved countless lives.

"All forces have benefited from the Scan Eagle UAS," said Mr. Bishop, who has been involved in the unmanned systems division since its inception in 2003.

"AFSOC has developed the standards and trained the operators," said Rich Heagwood, chief of small unmanned systems. "AFSOC understands the security forces mission and we've developed a program where they are the first personnel in DoD to fly this size (aircraft). We are ready to deploy the Scan Eagle to help fight the war on terror."

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