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Air Force Holds Small UAS Training for Civil Engineering Missions

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An office within the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s planning and integration directorate has completed an initial training class for operators and instructors of small unmanned aircraft systems as the military service prepares to incorporate drones into mission essential tasks.

The sUAS office for the AF Geobase Program trained geospatial integration personnel through classroom and hands-on activities meant to help them learn how to operate Group 1 sUAS platforms that weigh less than 20 pounds and to collect data using the systems, the U.S. Air Force said Sunday.

Julio Toala, GeoBase operations manager and sUAS program manager at the Air Force, estimates that the branch's data gathering, image processing and light detection and ranging system capabilities would increase 10-fold with the use of drones.

He expects the team to reach another program milestone in the fall.

Jose Alfonsin, a Woolpert sUAS developer who supports the GeoBase mission, said an sUAS has the potential to help military construction project managers monitor progress without them going to the site and assist civil engineers when they need to inspect building areas such as a rooftop.

The AF GeoBase team is planning to forward policies and strategies for the full execution of sUAS systems that will aid the operations of AFCEC directorates, including the development of a playbook that will be used for training.