Emory Wanger, far right, an Insitu Group contractor, launches a ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle from the flight deck
of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall Oct. 25. Gunston Hall and the embarked 24th Marine
Expeditionary Unit are part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group that was deployed in support of maritime security
operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility.
a family of systems rather than individual tools. The
Marines continue to work at better connecting with
other services as well, Shand said.
“We try to integrate with other services as best we
can,” he said. “Across the portfolio of systems, we do
the best we can to leverage investments other services
have made in order to find efficiency moving forward.”
Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis at
the Teal Group, Fairfax, Va., said the Marines will seek
more robust systems due to the change in environment
from Afghanistan to the vastly different maritime
domain of the Pacific.
“Generally, as the military shifts more toward a
Pacific strategy, they need to look at more survivable
systems,” he said.
Even though the Corps’ unmanned systems have
spent much of their time in Afghanistan, that does not
mean the service is ill-prepared to use those assets in
Southeast Asia, Finnegan said.
“Obviously, they have applicability,” he said.
“STUAS makes a lot of sense. It’s the next generation of
ScanEagle. It obviously provides better payloads, so it
It’s not as if the Marines have been operating solely in
Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been plenty of Marine
Expeditionary Unit deployments since then, and the
service has been able to test its UAS abilities aboard
those ships, learning lessons along the way that can be
applied to future unmanned programs, Shand said.