School trains future Raven UAV operators

        Though small in size, the Raven RQ-11 unmanned aerial vehicle plays a major role in observing combat zones to prevent serious injuries on the battlefield. Instructors of the Small Unmanned Aircraft System School at Fort Benning train Soldiers how to properly use these vehicles for real-world missions.

Taught by E Company, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, 197th Infantry Brigade, the SUAS operator course is one way that the school trains and certifies personnel to operate and perform maintenance tasks on the Raven SUAS.

The Raven is designed for rapid deployment and high mobility. With a wingspan of 4.5 feet and a weight of 4.2 pounds, the hand-launched system offers aerial observation at line-of-sight ranges up to 10 kilometers. Students get classroom and hands-on training consisting of day and night operations, maintenance, and practical or tactical employment and are assessed on their ability to operate the system. Upon successful completion of the course, students are presented an 80-hour certificate of instruction and a Raven SUAV operator’s card, which is required to operate the Raven.

Staff Sgt. William Lewis, SUAS trainer, said instructors teach operators how to fly the aircraft as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We have to do it in a two-week time frame,” Lewis said. “It’s very important that they hit those benchmark steps.”

This includes 13 hours of classroom time and more than 60 hours of field time understanding various different dimensions and parts of Raven, using software for flight controllers and identifying emergency procedures in the event of a system malfunction in flight.

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