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The latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed for the US Army is the Raven. Like all Army UAVs, it is an unmanned aircraft carrying sensors that send back real-time images of the target area. These pictures are sent back to a remote ground control station via a data link where they are analyzed. The Army operates several types of UAVs of various sizes and capabilities. The UAVs are operated at the brigade and divisions and are allocated to smaller units such as battalions and companies for particular missions.

raven2.gifThe Raven is a typical Army UAV. However, at first glance, the Raven seems like a great leap backwards. It is smaller, slower, has a shorter range and its sensors have far less resolution capability. While all this is true, a close examination shows that the Raven represents a major technological advance in providing the Army with capabilities no other UAV can match. Particularly, it provides units as small as platoons with their own full-time UAV support. How was it developed and deployed so quickly and dependable?

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