Manned and un-manned teaming for the first time?

A drill by the Combat Aviation Brigade’s 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment “became the first Army aviation unit to perform a manned-unmanned teaming tactical exercise using its own Shadow (version 2) drones during an exercise dubbed ‘Operation Heavy Shadow’ that was performed April 21-23, 2015 in the desert of Fort Bliss.”

The training used Apache helicopters and the RQ-7B UAV. They practiced doing recon while the Apaches destroyed a mock village. “The Heavy Shadow training is the first time we are collectively training with our version 2 Shadow,” said the soldiers, who foresaw integrating the two systems. It was a six-month drill that enabled familiarity with the two systems. This Heavy Cav unit would then be the army’s first attack-recon concept as part the “Aviation Restructuring Initiative which wanted to see more UAVs used with helicopters. They were phasing out the OH-58 and replacing it with the Shadow.

The Shadow would help see and identify targets for the helicopters. The drill was supposed to make the whole concept realistic. “3rd Squadron will apply its MUM-T training during a security mission in the Persian Gulf later this summer, when it replaces the CAB’s 4th Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, which has been operating out of Kuwait since December.”

Over the next four and a half years, nine more Apache units across the Army are scheduled to make 

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