Uganda air force Pvt. Ronald Mudhasi locked his arm as instructed and flung the small remote-controlled airplane into the overcast sky.
The Raven flew majestically above Test Area 3 but Mudhasi’s work wasn’t finished. He joined his countrymen and their instructors under a nearby canopy to help control the unmanned aircraft system’s flight.
Eight members of the Uganda air force received training on the Raven Dec. 12-23. The Uganda defense forces purchased four of the systems in July for $3 million, according to logistics management specialist Cindy Vanburg of AMCOM’s Security Assistance Management Directorate.
The Uganda servicemembers, in two groups of four, received instruction on their country’s new systems, which would be delivered in January after the training. The instructors were from Rally Point Management, out of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
« I like it, » Mudhasi said of the Raven. « It’s interesting, very interesting. »
« It’s good, » Capt. Patrick Kubayo said. « It’s a good … support of our operations in Somalia. Very necessary. The instructors they’re professional. They know what they’re doing. They help us a lot. »
Said Lance Cpl. Rowland Jimmy Odoch, « It is good. It will help us in our service in Uganda and other countries. »
Using a laptop computer with stylus, Rally Point Management instructor Mike Mahowald taught the Ugandans how to control the aircraft. « Every click is 20 feet up or 20 feet down, » he said at one point.
The Raven flew overhead with the Ugandans at the controls when a few visitors prepared to leave. Rally Point Management site head Kurt Donaldson was asked how the Ugandans were doing.
« They’re doing good, » Donaldson replied. « They’re doing very good. »
The Raven is the smallest unmanned aircraft system the Army sells internationally.
By Skip Vaughn