U.S. Coast Guard Civil Engineering Unit Providence, Rhode Island, piloted a short range Unmanned Aerial System to inspect the construction of new Aids to Navigation structures. The UAS saved the CEU more than 30 hours of work and reduced the risk of having to climb the structures.
“The UAS has allowed us to be more self-sufficient when it comes to accessing hard to reach assets, so we can better serve our operational partners,” Lt. Kieron D. McCarthy.
To augment interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is investigating the feasibility, costs and benefits of using land-based long-range and ultra-long endurance unmanned aircraft systems to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in contraband transit zones.
Unmanned aircraft do not have a long, storied history like the Coast Guard. But they already play a role in one of the Coast Guard’s earliest missions – guarding against illicit trade.
For more than a decade, the U.S. military has employed unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, to patrol the skies over targets and areas of interest, providing critical surveillance capabilities without putting pilots and crew in harm’s way. With the recent demonstration of hand-launched UAS on board a Sector Miami Fast Response Cutter, the Coast Guard is continuing its evaluation of UAS capabilities and potential incorporation into future cutter operations.
Thursday’s week in the life of the Coast Guard 2014 features the Cutter Kukui from Hawaii, family day on the Delaware River, an unmanned Arctic flight from the Cutter Healy, dirty work in Newport, Oregon, and quick fixes at Base Honolulu.
The Coast Guard Compass blog ran a Guardian of the Week feature on November 6 about LT Thomas Shuler being the first operational UAS pilot. We have since received a comment challenging LT Shuler’s status as the first operational UAS pilot and citing CDR Jose (Tony) Saliceti as the first qualified Coast Guard UAS pilot.
LT Thomas Shuler is pioneering the Coast Guard’s UAS (Unmanned Aerial Surveillance) program by earning the distinction of being our first operational Predator MQ-9 Pilot. LT Shuler is part of a small team of Coast Guard officers based at ATC Mobile, AL that is developing the Coast Guard’s UAS training and standardization program. LT Shuler