Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Unmanned Aircraft Joins Operation Enduring Freedom

By Sgt. 1st Class Charis Wilson, USA, Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Nov. 1, 2007 – A new, sleek, toy-like airframe is now a part of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade fleet of aircraft traveling the skies of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduing Freedom.

Sky Warrior-A is an Army unmanned aircraft system that provides combatant commanders the ability to detect, track and engage targets by using reconnaissance, surveillance and target-acquisition technology.

“It’s used as a combat multiplier, providing line-of-sight and beyond capabilities via a satellite link,” said Army Col. Michael Cavalier, project manager for unmanned aircraft system tactical concepts with Task Force Charger.

Less than three years into operational existence, the Sky Warrior-A has achieved a record 10,000 combat flight hours on three aircraft. First used in Iraq, it is being phased into operations in Afghanistan.

“It gives commanders an added asset on the tactical and strategic level to focus on priorities and direct assets where needed,” Detachment Commander Army Capt. Stephen Adamson said.

Sky Warrior-A began arriving in country in late September and is conducting operations throughout the theater.