The Army’s 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) is using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) like the RQ-11 Raven in missions to train with foreign militaries in the Indo-Pacific, Brig. Gen. Curt Taylor, commander of the 5th SFAB, told reporters on Feb. 24.
“We’re equipped with standard Army UAS capability, Taylor said. “We’ve got the Raven, small UAS system. We’ve been working with more advanced capability in the Puma. We’re excited that the Army has integrated the SFAB into its standard modernization program, so we expect to receive modernizing UAS and other systems as they come online inside the Army and we’re sharing that with our partners.”
The 5th SFAB recently completed an exercise in India, Taylor said. During this exercise, they discovered that the Indian army could benefit from the 5th SFAB’s experience with UAS.
“We found areas where they’re needing our help, for example, artillery systems, sensitive site exploitation, the employment of UAVs are areas that we’re finding an interest where we have some skills that we can share with them,” Taylor said. “But we’ve got a lot to learn from them as well.”
The 5th SFAB is testing some Counter-UAS (C-UAS) capabilities. However, they currently have no organic equipment, the Army told Defense Daily. Some systems they have used include Citadel Defense’s Titan C-UAS system, Flex Force’s Drone Buster, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s home station UAS/C-UAS trainer. They have also conducted live electronic attacks with these systems using commercial off-the-shelf UAS.
“We’ve tested some counter-UAS capability, more in our training environment, and the Army is working on a number of systems like the drone defender and others that have that capability,” Taylor said. “We’ve been testing those for the Army as one of the roles that we perform, but have not fielded those with our formation at this time.”
The 5th SFAB is currently in the process of deploying in the Indo-Pacific region and aims to have 20 teams deployed at all times, Taylor said. However, this is not a reality just yet.
“Our plan right now is to deploy one-third of the brigade forward six months at a time and rotate those in a continuous presence so we can keep about 20 teams of the 64 in our brigade forward at all times,” Taylor said.
The 5th SFAB has conventional force operations expertise and is complementary to the special forces community, Taylor said. Their tasks are to advise, support, liaise, and assess situations with foreign militaries.
“That liaison role is precisely what we see ourselves having to be experts at as we work with foreign headquarters,” Taylor said. “So what my intent would be able to put one of our adviser teams, for example, I’ve got a military intelligence adviser, I should be able to put that with a foreign partner in their command post, and they could serve both a liaise function and an advising function in that capacity. We have not had the opportunity to attempt that yet in an operational environment, but we’ve done that training.”