The US Marine Corps will field small quadcopter drones and every squad is set to receive one. They will be used for practice drills and get trained in everything from beach assaults to drills.
The infantry squads will be the first to receive their batch of quads and according to a report by the National Defense Magazine, the first 800 drones were purchased in 2017 and they will be deployed at a rate of around 200 a week.
Each infantry squad, notes a report by Popular Mechanics, is a 13 man strong unit and is known to be the basic building block of the squad. Every squad is divided into three four-man fire teams and commanded by a corporal. The last one -- the thirteenth man is the sergeant squad leader.
A Defense One report notes that the drones will serve two purposes- as an organic reconnaissance asset and the second is to create mapping data. As a reconnaissance asset, small drones can provide eyes in the sky in real time, notes the report. Amphibious squads, for example, can use them to gauge the beach before landing and storming it. Enemy positions and terrain can be easily scouted with minimal effort.
Mapping data could be used to design tactical decision games, notes the report. The enemy territory can be used to provide decision-making exercises to Marines and prepare them.
Marines are the first and so far the only branch in the armed forces, apart from the Special Operations Command to provide drones to soldiers on the ground at this level, notes the report. It can be expected in a few years to see armies around the world adapt to this technology, but so far, it is only the US Marines who have this advantage.
The only problem in using these drones, notes the report, is that each member in every 13 man squad is already given a specific task to handle. This might move the Marines to assign a tech-specific soldier in every squad to handle new weaponry, but it is not clear at this time if the size of each squad will change as a result.