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Marines Eye Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Capabilities

A "Dragon-Eye" unmanned aerial vehicle is launched by Marines serving with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) as part of a training exercise in the Central Command theater of operation. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola.
by Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola
Baghdad, Iraq (AFNS) Jul 18, 2006
Marines serving with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), trained with the X-63 "Dragon-Eye" unmanned aerial vehicle June 11, as part of a training exercise in the Central Command theater of operation.

The bungee-cord-launched "Dragon-Eye" provides organic aerial reconnaissance and surveillance at the small-unit level, giving Marine units the opportunity to observe real-time enemy movements beyond their traditional capacity.

Whisper-quiet and weighing less than five pounds, the "Dragon-Eye" is able to navigate pre-assigned waypoints via a global positioning system while transmitting data - either still images or video - to a two-man control station.

Capable of low-light operation and with a wingspan of just 18 centimeters, the drone can sustain flight for approximately 60 minutes. And because of its relative low cost, it can be fielded to Marines in large numbers.

The effective deployment of the unmanned aerial vehicle is able to transform a small tactical unit into an all-seeing machine of war, while supplying aerial surveillance and intelligence that can keep patrols and convoys out of harm's way.

Related Links
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Successful Demonstration Of Persistent Unmanned Maritime Surveillance
Farnborough UK (SPX) Jul 25, 2006
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and high-resolution surveillance and radar imaging systems, has announced its successful participation in the recent U.S. Navy Experiment Trident Warrior 2006 (TW06) off the coast of Southern California.

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