Security Forces Deploy New SUAS Technologies: Enhancing Field Operations

The Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) is enhancing warfighting capabilities by rolling out innovative small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) technologies.

While home station leaders can purchase unmanned systems suited to their local missions, AFSFC focuses on providing more sophisticated, deployable technologies critical to warfighting environments.

Teal 2 sUAS

Weighing less than three pounds, the Teal 2 sUAS offers a lightweight, easy-to-operate vertical take-off and landing system.

It’s designed to complement the larger Puma UAS system, providing security forces with an efficient way to gain local area overwatch and situational awareness.

With a travel range of approximately 5 kilometers, the Teal 2 enhances visibility for tactical patrols in both daytime and low-light conditions.

Key Features of Teal 2:

  • Weight: Under three pounds
  • Range: Up to 5 kilometers
  • Capability: Vertical take-off and landing
  • Use Case: Daylight and low-light conditions

Ray McKenney, the AFSFC sUAS program manager, highlights the Teal 2 as a force multiplier.

It allows tactical patrols to observe beyond the visual line of sight, giving them ample time and better situational awareness to engage threats, which was less feasible before this technology became widespread.

An initial purchase of Teal 2 units is complete, and subject matter experts are developing training packages for field deployment.

Red Air Cell

The Red Air Cell provides realistic training against potential sUAS threats.

This system includes over five capabilities that could be exploited by terrorists or criminals. For this reason, implementing the Red Air Cell is crucial in preparing U.S. Air Force installations to counter such threats effectively.

Red Air Cell Highlights:

  • Training: Realistic threat simulations
  • Capabilities: Multiple options emulating adversarial technologies
  • Goal: Prepare operators for real-world scenarios

Work is underway to finalize the technical support requirements, with expectations to have the Red Air Cell operational and ready for deployment by the end of 2024.

Continuous Improvement and Industry Collaboration

The AFSFC research team continually leverages real-world experiences from various installations to refine their sUAS offerings. This includes an emphasis on enhancing situational awareness and improving the collaboration between tactical patrol levels and operation centers.

By doing so, they aim to develop better training, tactics, and procedures.

To keep pace with the rapidly evolving nature of sUAS technology and global conflicts, the AFSFC is constantly looking ahead. They are already considering replacements for the current Puma and Teal 2 systems to provide even more effective and capable alternatives.

Future Plans and Goals:

  • Replacing Current Systems: Exploring advanced solutions
  • Increasing Efficiency: Reducing the training burden
  • Enhancing Situational Awareness: Expanding capabilities for defenders and leaders

Collaboration with the center’s innovation team and their partners in the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) ensures the AFSFC remains at the cutting edge of technology.

This partnership involves exploring Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiatives and other promising projects to continue advancing their capabilities.

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