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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Protect Marines On The Roads Across Iraq

Lance Cpl. Joseph A. Hernandez inspects the "Dragon Eye" unmanned aerial vehicle system here Dec. 19. Unmanned aerial vehicles are the future of protecting our forces and 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward). In theatre, there are multiple vehicles being used and the "Dragon Eye" is currently being tested by Marines here. Hernandez is a signal intelligence Marine with 2nd MLG (Fwd.) Photo by: Lance Cpl. Wayne Edmiston

Camp Taqaddum, Iraq (AFNS) Dec 23, 2005
Predicting the future is one power that will never be attainable, but if it was possible it could save the lives of many service members in a combat zone. With the skills of the Marines of Intelligence Shop, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) and the help of modern technology, stopping events before they occur is getting closer and closer.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are the future of protecting our forces and 2nd MLG (Fwd). In theatre, there are multiple vehicles being used and the "Dragon Eye" is currently being tested by Marines here.

UAV's, which are basically small airplanes equipped with surveillance capabilities, can range in size from the smaller Marine Corps "Dragon Eye" which has a wingspan of 45 inches to the Air Force's "Global Hawk" which has a wingspan of 130 feet, provide huge tactical benefits high above the field of battle, according to Global

One Marine at the forefront of this innovative warfare hopes his role will help 2nd MLG (Fwd.) units in the field.

"The system is simple in nature so we want to hand it over to units for their benefit," said Lance Cpl. Joseph A. Hernandez, a signal intelligence Marine with 2nd MLG (Fwd). "We are trying to train up units to be able to use the smaller system," referring to the "Dragon Eye."

"Units can use it to observe areas ahead of convoys to monitor any suspicious activity and terrain changes," the Miami, Fla., native explained.

Also in the case of the Marine Corps, the "Dragon Eye" can be used to view a potential operation site in place of sending out Marines, limiting the amount of time units have to venture on to the roads.

"These UAV's can be used for site surveys before a major mission in place of Marines having to be sent out on a separate mission," Hernandez said. "They are great for reconnaissance."

The types of attacks it mainly helps detect for convoys in Iraq is planned ambushes and improvised explosive devices, Hernandez said.

"Those attacks harm the most Marines in Iraq right now," said Hernandez. Hernandez recently started working with UAV's since arriving in Iraq. Although they are not a part of his military occupational specialty, he has established a working knowledge of them through hours of on-the-job training.

"This is a new project for me and I have learned a lot about them in the short time I've worked with them," he said.

The biggest pleasure he gets in his work is being able to help his fellow brothers-in-arms on the roads helping create a free Iraq.

This is especially important to him, because his younger brother is an infantryman and recently returned home after eight months in Iraq.

"If it just saves one Marines life or keeps a group of them out of harms way it's worth every minute of effort," he said.

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EDA Awards Patria And Instrumentointi Oy UAV Study Contract
Helsinki, Finland (SPX) Dec 19, 2005
Patria, with Instrumentointi Oy as a co-contractor, has been awarded a contract for an Unmanned Air Vehicle study by the European Defence Agency. This is the first technology study contract for the Agency's work on Long Endurance Unmanned Air Vehicles covering "Digital Line of Sight & Beyond Line of Sight Data Links".

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