U.S. Army military police officers from Fort Riley, Kansas are training with the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS), RQ-11 Raven, to enhance their environment awareness in combat during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany this week.

Members of 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion and 89th Military Police are training with the Raven in courses that teach day and night operations conduct, along with basic equipment maintenance.

“Once I launch the Raven into the air, it takes off,” said U.S. Army Spc. William Ritter. “I am able to control it and see where it's going through a remote control with a screen on it, showing me everything the Raven sees. No matter if its day or night – with the Raven – if there's a threat, I'll be able to see it.”

The Raven system is designed for rapid deployment and high mobility. At just over four pounds, its lightweight frame makes transport easy for ground troops. The sUAS has a range up to 10 kilometers from its launch point.

“Having the ability to assess the terrain and situation before exposing troops to hazards is essential,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Rombold, a mentor for troops going through the training. “With the Raven system, you are able to locate and follow high-value targets from a distance without exposing yourself, giving you an advantage and the element of surprise.”

Allied Spirit VIII is an exercise based out of the 7th Army Training Command in Germany. There are approximately 4,100 participants from 10 nations including Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States.