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Raven Bs enhances force protection mission capabilities for AUAB


Security Forces is the largest career field in the U.S. Air Force and debatably one of the most diverse. Members are specifically trained on security, defense, law enforcement, combat arms and military working dogs. For some defenders, they are presented the opportunity to expand even further into one of these specialized jobs they may not have known were possible for them.

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Raven Bs enhances force protection mission capabilities for AUAB 925 001 A Raven B Small Unmanned Aircraft System is preparing for flight training at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 9, 2020. (Picture source: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Perdue)


U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Rutherford, 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of Raven B operations, has witnessed this first hand after being tasked to operate the RQ-11B, or Raven B as it’s commonly known, Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS).

The Raven B team is attached to the security forces flight at AUAB, meaning operators continue their typical duties along with their new, SUAS responsibilities.

SUAS, such as the Raven B, are used by militaries worldwide to conduct low-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

At AUAB, the primary mission for the team is force protection, however, the drone has been flown for real-world missions to include conducting airfield assessments and post-storm damage analysis.

The drone and all of its equipment is broken down into what Rutherford calls, ‘go bags’ to ensure rapid response should the need arise.

A Raven can be hand-launched nearly anywhere on base at any time of day while weighing less than five pounds. Flying manually or autonomously, providing real-time video and having a gimbal camera system with day time/night time capabilities are only a few benefits offered by the Raven B.

According to Rutherford, being an operator has its challenges, but it also has its rewards.

By having and utilizing the Raven B and other SUAS like it, military forces are equipped with capabilities allowing above-ground points of view, high-definition day time and night time vision observed through multiple zoom lens and thermal imagery while also charging security forces members out of their comfort zone to learn a new level of force protection.