|Cpl. D. J. Wu|
Marines with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Squadron 3 practice the launch procedures
of their UAV July 2. The unit is practicing
their maintenance with the vehicle and
training Marines on the system. Unmanned
aerial vehicles are piloted by men and women
with a remote control or by a computer.
Remote-sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors, gamma ray sensors, biological sensors, and chemical sensors. A UAV's electromagnetic sensors include visual spectrum, infrared, or near infrared cameras and radar systems.
Other electromagnetic wave detectors may also be used but are uncommon. Biological sensors are capable of detecting the airborne presence of various microorganisms and biological factors. Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy to analyze the concentrations of each element in the air.
UAVs armed with Hellfire missiles are increasingly used by the U.S. military as platforms for hitting ground targets. Armed Predators were first used in late 2001 from bases in Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The advantage of using an unmanned vehicle rather than a manned aircraft is if the aircraft is shot down, the pilot will not be lost or captured by the enemy.
Unmanned aircraft are useful in penetrating areas that may be too dangerous for manned aircraft. They began utilizing unmanned aircraft systems in 2006 as a hurricane hunter.
There is also a 35-pound system, which can fly into a hurricane and communicate near-real-time data. Beyond the standard barometric pressure and temperature data typically called from manned hurricane hunters, these systems provide measurements far closer to the water’s surface than previously collected.
The UAV has provided a variety of different ways to accomplish the mission and has potential to have many more uses in the future.
“It is an amazing aircraft,” Bellevue said. “It lets us accomplish the mission in a safer way. We are eyes in the sky.”
Story by Lance Cpl. Alejandro Bedoya