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JBLM says new drone technology could help save soldiers’ lives

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD -- Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are being trained to operate new drone technology that the Army says should help keep troops safer in combat.

The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade said the latest version of the RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Aerial System will improve the way the drone is used to support troops, allowing it to stay in the air longer and giving those controlling it a better idea of what’s happening on the ground.

“It helps our ground force commander save troops lives,” said SSG Dolphise Colomb. “It helps give us that near real-time video analysis of the battle. Whether it be of ourselves, or our enemies. Whatever it may be at that time, it really gives us the ability to support our ground force commander and not go into a situation where we don’t have a good view of what’s going on.”

The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade is also home to a new unit called the 4-6 Heavy Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, which will be the first helicopter unit in the Army to be equipped with the latest version of both the Apache helicopter and the Shadow UAS. For the first time, it will allow the Shadow drone to be controlled from inside an Apache helicopter.

Q13 Fox News’ Brandi Kruse got a first-hand look at the new technology and training.