Murphy's Law: Canadian UAV Rules Are Different


June 17,2008: In Afghanistan, Canadian troops used micro (under ten pounds) UAVs differently than U.S. troops do. While the Americans assign the Raven micro-UAV to infantry companies, or Special Forces teams, the Canadians have the artillery forward observer teams operate the five MUAV (Micro/Mini UAV) systems. The Canadians use the Israeli Skylark instead of the Raven. Each Skylark systems contains three ten pound UAVs, and one set of ground control equipment. The Skylark, like most micro-UAVs, is a battery powered plastic aircraft. It can stay up for 90 minutes per flight and can operate up to ten kilometers from the base station (radio gear and a laptop computer). The UAV can be equipped with night vision video equipment, or a color day camera.

The artillery observer team normally communicates with any aircraft providing aerial reconnaissance for the infantry unit the observers are with. And the observer is usually with, close to, or in radio contact with the infantry unit (usually a company) commander. So the Canadian system takes advantage of existing experience and procedure, to introduce a new technology (which replaces the artillery spotting aircraft that have been around since World War II). But the MUAV "belongs" to the artillery observer team, that team is in turn attacked to an infantry company or battalion. Thus these infantry units now have their own air force, and it's being run by someone familiar with how aircraft overhead operate, and what they can do.


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