The US Army has announced the deployment of 30 RQ-28A quadcopter reconnaissance drones received from California-based firm Skydio.
The unmanned systems were handed over to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning in Georgia.
According to the service, the new drones will provide warfighters with improved situational awareness and a standoff capability in urban and on complex terrain.
They also offer accurate reconnaissance and surveillance of targets during routine combat operations.
Before the 30 RQ-28As officially entered service, soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment undertook training on how to operate the quadcopter drones.
“The RQ-28A capability will provide game-changing technology to army platoons, enhancing both soldier lethality and survivability,” US Army unmanned systems office official Carson Wakefield said.
“It is a new capability for the Army, and I am so proud of my team for delivering an innovative solution in just under three years from prototype to delivery.”
The RQ-28A Drone
Skydio’s RQ-28A is the US Army’s first-ever rucksack portable quadcopter issued to maneuver platoons.
It weighs less than five pounds (2.2 kilograms), making it suitable for quick deployment in strategic locations.
The drone can be launched by hand and has vertical take-off and landing, hover, perch, and stare capabilities.
“It’s very intuitive with great obstacle avoidance, additionally the thermal is better than expected,” Staff Sgt. Adam McDevitt explained. “I can’t wait to use this on full mission profiles to see what it can really do.”
The US Army unmanned systems office plans to field 480 more RQ-28As by 2023.