Skip to content

February 12, 2018

The newest weapon for the U.S. Marine Corps is a fleet of quadcopter drones

by John_A

Each squad in the Marine Corps will soon have a new member — a quadcopter drone that will be used in everything from training to surveillance to battlefield assaults. The Marines purchased more than 800 drones at the end of 2017 and now they’re rolling out quickly to every squad in the service, according to National Defense magazine

“We never had anything like that even at the company level. It was much higher at the battalion level,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh at an industry conference in Washington D.C. “We’re getting one for every single squad in the entire Marine Corps.”

“They’re going fast. We’re talking about two hundred a month,” he added.

Other branches of the service are experimenting with their own drone programs, as are military forces in other countries. But the full-scale integration of drones down to the squad level is a major development.

Each Marine squad is a 13-man unit, with three separate four-man fire teams headed up by a corporal. The 13th man is the sergeant squad leader. According to DefenseOne, however, some commanders have found themselves short on manpower, needing extra soldiers to help with the new technology.

Walsh is reportedly considering giving each squad a “tech assistant” to handle training and maintenance for the drones. It’s not clear if this will necessitate increasing the size of the squad or merely reassigning duties within existing units.

The drones will be used during field exercises, such as storming a beach, as surveillance tools to scout the terrain and map enemy positions in advance. They will also play an important role in training during downtime as well, with each squad utilizing a “Tactical Decision Kit” to game out various scenarios.

It’s all part of a new philosophy called “How an Expeditionary Force Operates in the 21st Century,” devised in 2016. It’s a high-tech way of preparing soldiers for battle that was devised at the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

The virtual simulations began last year with the Marines’ 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. “We put the games into the barracks and they really just started gaming,” said Walsh. “Then we took it the field, we said, ‘Use it with these quadcopters, with the Hololens in order to map the terrain.’”

For a generation of Marines who grew up playing Xbox and PlayStation, the new program may have some side benefits as well by keeping them engaged and out of trouble. “It was bringing down disciplinary problems in the unit,” Walsh said. “Instead of doing other things they’re using this to think tactically.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The U.S. Army is developing battlefield drones that can be 3D printed on-demand
  • This ‘drone gun’ can down rogue quadcopters with the pull of a trigger
  • Have a need for speed? Learn to race drones with Fat Shark’s 101 training kit
  • Watch this coordinated drone swarm fly in tight formation — without GPS
  • Desert-themed map for ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ finally gets a name


Advertisements
Read more from News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: