USAF Test Flies RQ-11B Raven UAV


Flight tests of the USAF's RQ-11B Raven have taken place in Iraq .

The RQ-11B Raven is a small unmanned aircraft equipped with cameras, sensors and communications tools, which will provide coalition forces with the eye-in-the-sky advantage.

Weighing only 4.2lb, the aircraft has a 55in wingspan and measures 3ft in length.

The aircraft is remotely piloted by a mission operator and vehicle operator, who work side-by-side to coordinate what they are seeing and where the vehicle needs to fly.

506th ESFS Raven-B trainer Tech Sgt Ricardo De La Cruz said the mission operator had a laptop computer system and acted as the navigator.

"He coordinates with the tower about the course the UAV will take and when it will fly for airspace purposes. The vehicle operator is the one who actually drives the aircraft," he said.

The aircraft is primarily used to perform critical missions in reconnaissance, surveillance, positive target identification and battle damage assessment, both inside and outside the wire.