RELEASE NUMBER: 130613-01
DATE POSTED: JUNE 13, 2013
ARSOF 2022 Campaign of Learning: Firebird Demonstration
By Maj. Emily Potter
USASOAC Public Affairs
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (June 13, 2013) – Soldiers and leaders alike were able to partner with industry to build and test concepts that define how Army Special Operations Forces will fight in the future with a demonstration of the Firebird Optionally Piloted Aircraft, associated intelligence collection sensors and command and control systems.
Soldiers spent the week practicing with and getting hands-on time with the equipment, culminating in a key leader demonstration Thursday.
The learning event was part of the U.S. Special Operations Aviation Command's (USASOAC) efforts to improve Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to meet joint expeditionary tactics, techniques, procedures, forward-based networking and sensor requirements.
Mr. Eric Rosario, USASOAC UAS logistics, explained this as a way to "keep the Army in front of all the new technology, and determine if this is a capability we could use somewhere."
As the aviation staff proponent of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, USASOAC hosted the demonstration "as an opportunity to see the emerging technology and the future possibilities for UAS," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cory Anderson, who created and ran the operational scenarios that demonstrated the capabilities of the airframe and allowed Soldiers to get behind the controls.
Anderson, along with Staff Sgt. Brian Edinger, created the scenarios "based off similar situations to what we see in theater in the current environment." Other Soldiers acted as Opposition Forces on the battlefield, operated the payloads and performed maintenance.
"This was absolutely great for the 15Ws (operators) and 15Es (mechanics) who got to operate the sensors and actually turn wrenches to change out the payloads on the airframe," said Anderson. "They were able to see a different side, not just Army technology."
The Soldiers found the systems easy to learn. Pfc. Andrew May, who has been a UAS operator at 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) for six months and worked with the portable ground control station, joked "if a Private can do it, anyone can do it. It's that simple."Pfc. Joseph Patton, 30th Brigade NC National Guard, attended the demonstration to "gauge how much more capable this UAS is compared to what we're using. Training as a UAS operator is very technical- you get used to that aircraft. To see another UAS operating takes you out of that comfort zone, and makes you look at future capabilities and the expansion of our field," he explained.