With ever-changing combat technologies and capabilities, it is more important than ever for America’s Contingency Corps to adapt and innovate in order to fight and surpass our enemies.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armament Center and 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment “No Slack”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and senior aviators with the 18th Airborne Corps teamed up from February 22nd-24th, 2023 to test out a brand new capability for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). For the first time, US Army forces dropped live explosives from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Our eyes in the sky, the RQ-28A, a Skydio UAV, will now be a force for the Sky Dragons throughout the Corps.
The DEVCOM Armament Center’s engineering team contributed to the breakthrough. Matthew Brauer, a mathematician by profession, was among the handful chosen to spearhead the project. “We recognized the critical importance of being able to match and advance the growing technological movement of combat and warfare,” Brauer added. “We tried a variety of approaches to make the concept work, with the primary goal of improving its performance and safety.”
The team was able to build a set of grenades that can then be discharged from a distant place by a single operator using a specially built 3D-printed chassis. This enables units throughout the army to drop live grenades strategically in an active battle zone. While safeguarding the individual Soldier or squad, it gathers real-time information and reconnaissance data for the fighting environment.
U.S. Army Spc. Brandon Brooks, a cavalry scout attached to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fired the drone. “The opportunity to be a part of a working group is great for both junior soldiers and leaders,” Brooks added. “It allows us to further develop ourselves for future fights and gives us the ability to plan ahead of time how we will use this system.”
Canadian Army Brigadier General Pierre “Pete” Huet, the Assistant Commanding General for Operations, 18th Airborne Corps, was on hand to observe the training. “It was great to see the US Army testing different platforms to improve their battlefield capabilities.” This is what we’re witnessing in Ukraine right now,” Brigadier General Huet said. “This is the future of combat, and the XVIII Airborne Corps gets to be at the epicenter of the initiative.”
The test demonstrated that the US Army will not only be able to see the danger, but will also be able to detect it. They will be able to defeat it. Keeping all overseas partners and friends safe from possible enemy attack will remain the XVIII Airborne Corps’ objective as we look for new ways to innovate and lead the way in increased capabilities.