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August 10, 2017
HE US Army’s RQ-7B v2
Shadow 200 remotely piloted
aerial system flew in Australia
for the first time during
Exercise Talisman Sabre.
The Shadow 200s of 2 Sqn, 6 Cav
Regt, and 25 Combat Avn Bde (CAB)
based in Hawaii, joined the Australian
Army’s Shadow 200s of 131 STA Bty,
20 STA Regt, to conduct reconnais-
sance, surveillance and target acquisi-
tion missions from Williamson Airfield
With its airborne infra-red camera, the
Shadow can fly day and night operations
and allows operators to designate tar-
gets or conduct target hand-offs to armed
manned or unmanned aircraft.
A highlight of the exercise for the
members of 20 STA Regt was observing
the US Army’s larger remotely piloted
aerial system, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle,
and learning about “unmanned-unmanned
teaming”, which consists of a target hand-
off between two unmanned platforms.
Battery Commander Capt Phil
Williamson, of 20 STA Regt, said the
Australian and US Shadows provided
tactical support to 1 Div and 3 Bde during
“Working with the US Army enabled
us to look at training and tactics from a
completely different perspective,” he said.
“We’re out to refine our procedures based
on the way our coalition partners operate,
which is exposure we don’t often get.”
Capt Williamson said a main goal of
Talisman Sabre was to integrate into a
complex airspace with the Shadow sys-
tem, which the US did frequently.
“While working alongside the US
with their v2 Shadow system, we were
able to efficiently integrate our unmanned
capabilities into a manned environment,”
“Our junior soldiers are entrusted with
a significant amount of responsibility
when it comes to operations within the
“When watching the amount of trust
placed in the US soldiers it gave them a
good reference for how to interact within
the battlespace and assist with de-conflic-
tion in a complex air environment.”
For ground units, the Shadow is their
eyes. When a convoy is travelling through
an area, it can provide reconnaissance
and look for possible ambush sites or
avenues of approach.
In the air, if a helicopter flies into an
area first, it is a risk for making enemy
contact. If a Shadow goes first and is shot
down, it can be destroyed without putting
a pilot’s life at risk.
Platoon Sergeant B Troop, Sgt 1st
Class Daniel Vazquez, of 2-6 Cav Sqn, 25
CAB, said the squadron provided near-
real-time situational awareness for air
assets and ground troops during Talisman
“We provide commanders with more
opportunities to make clear, educated
decisions about what will happen in the
battlefield,” he said.
“Our unit and 20 STA Regt, are
enforcing our respective procedures
and comparing them to see how we
can streamline them so we can help
each other in the future during actual
in the sky
AIRCRAFT maintainer LCpl
Bradley Rath, of 20 STA Regt, has
been with Army for nine years and
previously maintained Chinooks
and Black Hawks.
He has been working with the
Shadow 200 for nearly six months.
LCpl Rath said he was always
interested in remotely piloted aerial
systems and was looking for a differ-
ent role with Army aviation.
“The change was interesting
because the Shadow 200 is a simple
aircraft system compared to the heli-
copters I’m used to working with in
my trade,” he said. “Talisman Sabre
was a unique opportunity to take on
my new roles as a trade inspector and
crew chief, which in an aviation unit
only a sergeant can do.”
LCpl Rath said the crew chief was
responsible for releasing the aircraft
to the operator before launching it for
the mission then doing the recovery.
“The extra experience and confi-
dence I now have under my belt will
potentially allow me to lead the setup
and run maintenance shifts for future
activities,” he said.
“The best part of my job is work-
ing with my hands.
“I was stuck in an office before
I joined Army, so I happily left that
environment. I wanted a trade, I
wanted to get my hands dirty – I
haven’t looked back.”
US and Australian Shadow crews team up
for Talisman Sabre, Cpl Mark Doran and
Sgt Tiffany Edwards report.
Getting dirty hands
LCpl Bradley Rath, of 131
STA Bty, maintains a RQ-7B
Shadow 200 remotely
piloted aerial system.
Photo: Cpl Mark Doran
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