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sUAS: Eyes in the Sky

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel O'Brien
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing

You see them every time you come to the gate.  You see their patrol vehicles rolling down the road.  You may even see the K-9 teams out sometimes.  But the 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron’s most important tasks may be the one you don’t even notice.

While MQ-9 Reapers are flying missions out across the AOR, closer to home the 332d EFS has its own eyes in the sky, watching our back yard.  It’s a critical job to make sure that anything that gets close to the perimeter is spotted before it can actually contact the base.

 “What we’re looking for is people, vehicles, weapons, [and] movement of those items,” said Tech Sgt. Sean Reval, 332d ESFS, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems non-commissioned officer in charge.  “Basically anything suspicious, anything that looks out of place.”

To accomplish this, they use a small unmanned aerial system, similar to its larger counterparts, but with a more localized mission.

“The Puma has a pretty good ceiling and range.  In an emergency we can go out fairly far but we typically don’t need to,” said Reval. “We usually stay closer to home.”

An added advantage of this system is the prep time. If something is coming in, you want to know and know fast.

“The main purpose of it is that it’s rapidly deployable,” said Reval. “If there’s something going on and you need eyes in the sky, we’ll get out here and set up and launch as quickly as we can.”

Once in the sky, a state of the art camera system does the rest.

“We’re able to give a good bird’s eye view, a really clear picture of whatever it might be that’s out there,” said Reval.

Once the information is reported in, the rest of security forces and other units can take countermeasures to neutralize the threat.  When it comes to protecting lives, the sUAS flight helps ensure threats from outside never have the chance to get inside.