Tuesday | October 24, 2017
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PTA drone proposal detailed

THE DRONES

SHADOW

Wingspan: 14 feet

Weight: 380 pounds

Launch: catapult

Range: 67 nautical miles

Airspeed: 167-204 kilometers per hour

Endurance: six hours

Altitude: 3,000-8,000 feet above ground

BLACKJACK

Wingspan: 16 feet

Weight: 135 pounds

Launch: catapult

Range: 54 nautical miles

Airspeed: 102-148 kilometers per hour

Endurance: 15 hours

Altitude: 3,000-8,000 feet above ground

Pohakuloa Training Area would host drone training flights for up to 12 weeks a year under a proposal to relocate a squadron of the unmanned aircraft from California to Hawaii.

The reconnaissance drones would be based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay on Oahu but also utilize training areas on Kauai and PTA on the Big Island, according to an environmental assessment completed last month.

The transfer of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron Three, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif., involves 12 Shadow and 45 Blackjack drones.

The squadron would begin to relocate as early as June with Blackjack drones being added early next year.

Both drone models use propeller engines and are launched with catapults, according to the EA. Neither have weapons.

The document says relocating the squadron would allow the Marines to achieve a balance in its capabilities in the Pacific region and help ensure soldiers are properly trained and equipped.

Lt. Col. Eric Shwedo, PTA commander, said the types of