Army to control overseas combat drones from US

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The U.S. Army is working with industry to implement drone operations that enable high-risk combat missions to be controlled by a U.S.-based pilot, reducing vulnerability to enemy attack and drawing upon advanced satellite networks to improve video feeds.

It’s a technical system called Remote Split Operations (RSO), which has been operational with Air Force from a high-op-tempo command and control station at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

Much of the work, going back years to the time when the Air Force first developed the technology, is performed by a U.S.-based ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) firm called MAG Aerospace. Years ago, MAG’s Air Force service began with enabling Predator feeds and then migrating to Reapers.

Now, given the massive uptick in combat zone combatant commander requests for ISR and drone operations – MAG is working closely with the Army to bring this technology to the Army’s Grey Eagle drone.

“We support the long haul connectivity where the pilot and the sensor operator are separated. They connect through terrestrial and satellite communications to remote locations forward in theater,” John Belcher, MAG Director of Technical Service, told Warrior in an interview.

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