Army Staff Sgt. Pablo Villanueva, Bravo Company, 173rd Special Troops Battalion (Airborne) conducts “preventive maintenance daily” on a RQ-7 Shadow 200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle June 19 on Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan
173rd ABCT Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan -
The UAV is able to provide the combat team with video coverage of an area of interest for hours at 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the launch and recovery site.
The air vehicle uses a pneumatic launcher and is recovered by a tactical automatic landing system on the runway. The air vehicle is stopped using an arresting hook and cable system.
The first launch of a RQ-7 Shadow UAV in the 173rd was by Army Col. Charles A. Preysler, 173rd ABCT commander, in Germany during the training for preparation to Afghanistan.
The UAV is a new asset to the combat team and keeping it operational is essential.
By the time the Shadow gets into the sky, it gets checked a minimum of six times, said Army Staff Sgt. Pablo Villanueva, maintenance chief for the Shadow, Bravo Company, 173rd Special Troops Battalion (Airborne).
“We take it apart to make sure everything is tightened down, verify all the electronics work and conduct preflight checks,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva’s crew of mechanics performs maintenance, which is called “preventive maintenance daily,” every day.
“I enjoy doing this,” said Army Sgt. Christopher Johnson, a UAV mechanic in Bravo Company, 173rd STB.
“We work in 12-hour shifts,” explained Villanueva. “Eight hours are spent doing PMD and the other four are doing preflight inspections.”
Villanueva and his crew open the plane up and take it apart to make sure everything is right.