The Marine Corps wants every squad to be equipped with new quadcopter tactical drones ― as it pushes high-tech, realistic video games for training.
The quadcopter plan has been in development for some time, and the equipment has slowly been doled out to Marine units deployed overseas. A nearly 300 Marine unit known as Task Force Southwest deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, last year with a small tactical drone called the Instant Eye.
In the fall of 2016, Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said at Marine Corps League’s Modern Day Marine expo, “At the end of next year, my goal is every deployed Marine infantry squad has got their own quadcopter.”
The issue was highlighted again this week at a drone expo held in National Harbor, Maryland.
“They’re going fast. We’re talking about [sending] two hundred a month,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Defense One reported.
The drones will also serve another purpose: pulling data to help map terrain that can be used to enhance combat simulators.
The Corps then plans to put in place new realistic computer simulation games, called Tactical Decision Kits, in the barracks.
The idea is that Marines can use the simulators ― which immerse them in realistic battle scenarios in regions they may end up operating ― during their downtime.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.