U.S. 1st Cavalry Division puts a RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft in the sky
The RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system’s engine roared as it slingshots off a mobile launch ramp at Horsemen Flight Landing Strip in Trzebien, Poland, Nov. 2 and into the bright horizon during another day of training for Soldiers assigned to Delta Company, 91st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Sgt. Lisa Vines says the “Horsemen Platoon” is creeping closer to its goal of attaining 270 flight hours during their Atlantic Resolve rotation.
“We’re coming up on 270 flight hours in Europe, which is significant because that is what the unit previous to us got, so it shows we’re able to keep pace in a challenging rotation,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Austin J. Collell, the Shadow platoon leader assigned to Delta Company, 91st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Just outside of a small village, Soldiers are currently living and working at Horsemen FLS, a camp obscured by camouflage netting in the wood line of a training area accessible only by a dirty road. The platoon is training an influx of new Soldiers on TUAS technology repurposed for a near-peer fight.
“Shadow is a really unique force multiplier because it was designed for Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Collell. “We had to repurpose Shadow in a different direction from what it was originally designed for.”
With a team made up of mostly recently enlisted, junior Soldiers, the training tempo has been high as seasoned operators train their Soldiers in an effort to close the knowledge gap.
“They’re drinking through a fire hose shadowing our senior guys. You cannot mass produce operators,” said Collell. “Even if they’re not flying, they are here at the airfield.”
U.S. Army Pfc. Carlos A. Castillo, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer assigned to Delta Company, Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, …read more
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