The small unmanned aerial system has provided target support to an armoured regiment for the first time.
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R70 Sky Ranger has demonstrated enhanced capabilities at a military exercise at the Cultana Training Area in South Australia.
No. 3 Security Forces Squadron (3SECFOR) operated the aerial system, providing targeting support to 1st Armoured Regiment.
The squadron’s multi-rotor unmanned aerial system (MRUAS) cell — typically used to provide security to personnel by leveraging a portable and rapidly deployable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability — demonstrated that it is also capable of providing range safety and target acquisition support to the Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) regiments.
MRUAS cell section commander Leading Aircraftman Rhys Mitting said the Sky Ranger was used to clear the live-fire trace area in approximately a quarter of the time normally taken by a land-based vehicle.
According to LAC Mitting, the Sky Ranger was deployed with a tether kit containing a micro-cable, which allowed for round-the-clock operation.
“Utilising the tether, we were able to provide 1st Armoured Regiment with continuous target identification support for multiple mission sets, identifying ground targets ranging from 1000 to 3000 metres away,” LAC Mitting said.
“The Sky Ranger provided the ASLAV crews with precision targeting support for their static and moving shoots, and this resulted in better scoring across the board.
“By the end, 3SECFOR successfully demonstrated that our system could provide 1st Armoured Regiment with a highly valuable, capability-enhancing edge on the battlefield.”
LAC Mitting said the R70 Sky Ranger is a key element of 3SECFOR’s evolution.
“Air Force’s MRUAS capability has been developed and trialled by 3SECFOR in South Australia for the past three years,” LAC Mitting said.
“The successful integration of 3SECFOR’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system with 1st Armoured Regiment has opened up new opportunities for our team to work alongside armoured regiments and other land-based elements in the future.
“The Sky Ranger is just the beginning of security forces’ transition – it’s allowed us to share information in the joint space, making us a more integrated and potent force.”
Commander of Combat Support Group Air Commodore Veronica Tyler thanked members of 3SECFOR for their efforts, adding that she looked forward to witnessing the evolution of the MRUAS capability.
“Following a year of operational, test and evaluation by 3SECFOR, Combat Support Group is looking forward to embracing and employing the R70 Sky Ranger MRUAS to enhance our national support base and expeditionary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability,” she said.