Navy Deciding Who Flys UAVs Based on Weight

Site: AF.mil

The Navy will follow a new weight-based approach to determine who can operate unmanned aerial vehicles, the Navy Times reports.

The Navy wants UAVs that weigh more that 55 pounds to be operated as adjuncts to manned systems.

Pilots and naval flight officers will fly the larger and more complex UAVs, said Joe Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance.

Gradisher said enlisted sailors will operate UAVs that are smaller, stay at low altitudes and carry out short-range missions. 

Sailors with little aviation experience will be in charge of many UAVs the Navy operates or develops, according to Navy Times. 

The new weight limit means the 40-pound ScanEagle will be the only UAV in the fleet that will be manned by those outside aviation. 

Experienced manned vehicle pilots would receive training for UAV operation after their first or second tours.

Gradisher said that this approach to UAV operation promotes better convergence between manned and unmanned capabilities.

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