Analysis of the Sustainment Organization and Process for the Marine Corps RQ-11B Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
Van Bourgondien, Jeffery
Matthews, David F.
Franck, Raymond E.
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The purpose of this study is to outline and analyze the acquisition and sustainment process for the current U.S. Marine Corps RQ-11B Raven Digital Data Link small unmanned aerial system program. The current sustainment of the Marine Corps Raven evolved from the support employed for its predecessor analog variant in 2008, which was originally supported by Marine organic assets below depot-level maintenance requirements. The Ravens manufacturer, AeroVironment Inc., now stations a field service representative in theater and has been since around June 2011 under a contractor logistics support contract after the Marine Corps struggled to implement organic support and sustain its Ravens at the organizational and intermediate levels. This report serves as a case study for insights into the acquisition strategies for future unmanned systems. I explore the advantages and limitations of organic versus contractor support options in the form of monetary, organizational, and logistical resource allocation by analyzing the spectrum of solutions throughout the supply and maintenance constructs. The analysis covers both operational and sustainment perspectives through the lens of doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities implications.
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