Redstone Report: Students take a look at unmanned aircrafts

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The "Adventures at AMCOM" program is a way for students to get a closer look at jobs on Redstone Arsenal. This year, it ran from June 10-13th. Over 150 kids from across Alabama and Tennessee applied to the program. Only 22 were selected. The kids visited several offices and departments on the arsenal. We tagged along as they learned more about the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office.

Puma, Raven, and Shadow are typically used overseas. Richard Kretzschmar, the Deputy Project Manager for UAS, describes the aircrafts missions as "reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition."

All 3 unmanned aircrafts fly around, looking for enemies and surveying any threats soldiers might encounter. Puma and Raven are handheld systems that are smaller, have less of a range, operate at a lower altitude, and have a flight life of about 90 minutes. Shadow is a larger aircraft that is operated from a ground control station. It is launched into the air and can fly for a longer period of time and can reach higher altitudes and go further.

Instead of completing its normal mission though, these aircrafts were used to teach students attending "Adventures at AMCOM" about the UAS Project Office.  Kretzschmar says it's important for the youth to learn about these tools because, "They're going to be used more and more in the future. There is an opportunity for them if they study science and mathematics and engineering in their school, they can take part in this career in the future."

Victoria Swaine's dad works with the UAS Project Office. It's what inspired her to take part in the day's activities. She says, "Sometimes you don't really know what he does, but now I get to see it happening."

Once she was on Redstone's Army Airfield, her interest turned from her father's career, to her own. She remarked on the type of technology she saw, talking about the different type of cameras the unmanned aircrafts have.

At the end of the day, as the students piled back onto the bus, UAS leaders said they hoped the kids left with more than just a memory, but with a passion that would soon turn into a career.

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