06/07/2015: On May 18, 2015, the Second Line of Defense team visited the Marine Corps UAV squadron at Cherry Point. This was a return visit. In the earlier interview conducted in the summer of 2014. The importance of shaping a more flexible UAS for USMC operations was highlighted,
With regard to the RQ-21A, the squadron was working with industry to shape ways to enhance capability.
We are looking at size, weight, power tradeoffs to enhance overall platform capability.
Currently, we are at 135 pounds with the platform and we could go as high as 165 which would give us more payload to carry onboard.
Lt. Col. Faught emphasized throughout the discussion the need to evolve the payloads along with other key aviation capabilities being shaped for the MAGTF. He especially felt that EW payloads will be increasingly of interest going forward.
And he felt as the F-35B joins the force along with the Ospreys, the opportunity to rework evolving UAVs to operate with these more expensive combat systems would be significant.
During this visit, which was with Murielle Delaporte, we discussed the way ahead with John Nelson, the Operations Officer, Captain John Putney, the Assistant Operations Officer, and Captain Palpachek, the Intel Officer.
The members of the squadron provided a very clear perspective on the challenges and potential ways ahead.
In these photos, the two key UAVs that the squadron operates are seen as the squadron works with them in their hanger area.
The first photos show the Shadow and its supporting elements.
The final photos show the RQ-21A which will be deployed aboard ship soon by the Marines.
Credit Photos: Second Line of Defense