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NEWS | June 5, 2023

Maryland Army National Guard 'takes flight' with the Raven

By Senior Airman Matt Porter 87th Air Base Wing

Soldiers with the Maryland Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment, conducted training with the RQ-11 Raven at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. on 1 June, 2023.

The small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle provides day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. With a flight radius of 10km and the ability to reach speeds of 50-100 km/h, the Raven provides superior aerial reconnaissance capabilities compared to most drones.

“We’ll launch the Raven to enhance training exercises that require top-down intelligence of the landscape,” said U.S. Army Spc. Hyung Kang, 175th Infantry Regiment, infantryman. “Once launched, we’re able to relay information to our Commander so that he can make educated decisions for troop movement.”

The Raven is assembled on site and undergoes a series of quality and performance checks to ensure optimal, unhindered flight time.

“It’s extremely durable and easy to assemble, which makes performing the checks and getting it up in the air a faster process than one might expect,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Byme Taylor, 175th Infantry Regiment, infantryman. “It’s programmed to return to us if it flies out of range and will conduct a controlled landing where it’s designed to break apart on impact.”

While durable, the Raven comes with many replacement components should it need to get back up in the air and is otherwise unable to do so.

“You wouldn’t think that something which breaks up on landing would fly again, but retrieval, reassembly, and relaunch can be a fairly quick process,” said Thomas Cantwell, 175th Infantry Regiment, infantryman. “This is important because we need flight hours to qualify as controllers, so the more time it can be up in the air during these trainings then the better it is for everyone involved.”

Touting a multi-decade history of proven combat effectiveness in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Raven has become a staple of company-level engagements and special forces operations. The SUAV was also supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces as part of the United State’s $75 billion in rendered aid to the country during its conflict with Russia.

The 175th Infantry Regiment concluded its annual two-week training at the Army Support Activity Fort Dix Ranges. Organized on 3 June, 1774, the Regiment is one of 30 federally recognized units within the U.S. Army that has roots in the colonial era.