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Army Aviation Warfighting Center Assumes UAS Training Mission

File photo: A Global Hawk Beale UAV.
by Michael Collins
Fort Huachuca AZ (AFNS) May 15, 2006
The newly activated Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Battalion (provisional) assumed responsibility for training operators and maintainers of the Army's unmanned aerial systems last month at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The ceremony marked the transfer of the training mission from the U.S. Army Intelligence Center to the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., the home of Army aviation.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are powered aerial vehicles sustained in flight by aerodynamic lift over most of their flight path and guided without an on-board crew. They may be expendable or recoverable, and can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. UAVs are a key element within the concept of information dominance.

The Intelligence Center officially activated the UAV Test Company in October 1991, as a separate company under the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade. The company's mission was to provide joint service training, testing and doctrinal development for the Joint Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Short Range Program.

The transfer to the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center reflects the technical and warfare doctrinal evolution the UAV has undergone over the years.

“I am confident that, beginning today, the training partnership of Army aviation and military intelligence will take UAS training to an even higher level, and ultimately provide the combat commanders on the ground with even greater support, and ultimately save lives while pursuing the enemy,” said Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca.

The U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center trains military, civilian and international personnel in aviation and leadership skills, and develops the doctrine, training, leaders, organization, materials and Soldiers for Army aviation's warfighting requirements.

Historically, the greatest use of UAVs has been in the areas of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. While UAVs play an increasing role in these mission areas, the operational impact of multiple UAV operations and their importance to 21st century air power needs and future warfighters is just beginning to be understood.

As the military adapts to new realities and ways of doing business, greater possibilities will evolve for the employment of UAVs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, other missions that defense leaders would like to develop for the UAV encompass strike and electronic airborne attack.

“The potential for other mission for our unmanned systems is limitless…homeland defense, disaster relief, combined arms operations, stability and support operations, and contingency operations to name a few,” said Brig. Gen. E. J. Sinclair, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center. “Our Soldiers will continue to adapt our unmanned systems to accomplish their assigned missions safer and more efficiently than ever before.”

Fort Huachuca is home to the world's largest unmanned aerial systems training center. More than 500 Soldiers are currently undergoing training in Shadow 200 and Hunter UAS operations there.

(Editor's note: Michael Collins writes for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Public Affairs Office.) Related Links
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