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March 20, 2014
Army at “Tipping Point” of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Specialist Corey Deer, UAS operator, launches a Raven UAS at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2013.

"We're on the tipping point of unmanned aerial systems' ability to deliver capability to the soldier," said Col. Thomas von Eschenbach.

The unmanned aerial/aircraft system, or UAS, is no longer seen by soldiers as a new system, and as the months and years pass, it will "not just be used by a few, but will become integral to the Army fabric and how it fights and is used and understood," said Eschenbach, who is the UAS capability manager for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Eschenbach and others spoke March 18, 2014, at a media roundtable at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., where a celebration was held marking the Army's milestone of 2 million UAS flight hours.

Col. Timothy Baxter, project manager, UAS, noted that it took 20 years for Army UASs aircraft to reach 1 million flight hours. That milestone came in 2010. With increased use of those systems, it took just a few more years to reach the 2 million flight-hours milestone. He said what is most impressive is that 90 percent of total UAS flight hours were logged in direct support of combat operations.

Image courtesy of U.S. Army.

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