US Launches Large-Scale UAV Recovery Mission

27 January 2009 (Last Updated January 27th, 2009 18:30)

Members of all six battalions of the US Army's 10th combat aviation brigade (CAB) joined forces to recover an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) forced to make an emergency landing near Baji in Iraq The Hunter UAV suffered engine failure on its way back COB Speicher airfield and had to be l

Members of all six battalions of the US Army's 10th combat aviation brigade (CAB) joined forces to recover an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) forced to make an emergency landing near Baji in Iraq

The Hunter UAV suffered engine failure on its way back COB Speicher airfield and had to be landed by its ground based pilot. Within minutes a downed aircraft recovery team (DART) had been assembled and dispatched.

10th CAB commander, Colonel Erik Peterson said that the skill of the unmanned aerial system operator and the UAS recovery system onboard the aircraft should have protected the aircraft during landing.

"The quicker we recovered it, the quicker we could figure out what went wrong, fix it, and get it back into operation. Not to mention, the Hunter is a relatively expensive, sophisticated piece of equipment, which we prefer not to leave unsecured in the Iraqi countryside," Peterson said.

The operation was joined by Two OH-58D Kiowa warrior scout weapons teams from 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, a task force ODIN warrior UAS, the pathfinders of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, a reaction force platoon from 2-27th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, AH-64 Apaches from 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 10th CAB and a downed aircraft recovery team from Bravo Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion was dispatched to recover the Hunter.

Once the aircraft was located, the DART team worked quickly to disassemble the aircraft, removing the wings and tail from the fuselage so it could be loaded into a CH-47 Chinook from 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th CAB, for transport back to COB Speicher.

Colonel Peterson lauded the effort of his forces, commending the ability of the various units to work together as a combined task force.

"In this particular case, we were faced with a problem that required contribution from virtually every element of Task Force Falcon, and everyone performed magnificently," Peterson said.

By Daniel Garrun.