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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator (96U)

Intelligence and Combat Support Army MOS Information
  • Enlisted
  • Active Duty

Having access to the correct information is absolutely necessary to plan for our national defense. Intelligence specialists, like the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator, are integral to providing Army personnel with information about enemy forces and potential battle areas. Intelligence specialists use aerial photographs, electronic monitoring and human observation in order to gather and study information that’s required to design defense plans and tactics.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator is primarily responsible for supervising or operating the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Mission planning, mission sensor, payload operations, launching, remotely piloting and recovering the aerial vehicle are all part of this position. Other duties may include:

  • Studying aerial photographs of foreign ships, bases and missile sites
  • Studying foreign troop movements and military codes
  • Operating sensitive radios to intercept foreign military communications
  • Storing and retrieving intelligence data using computers
  • Preparing and conducting air reconnaissance missions
  • Operating mission sensor/payload for target detection
  • Planning and analyzing flight missions
  • Performing pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight checks and procedures


Job training for a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator consists of nine weeks of Basic Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills, and nine to 24 weeks of Advanced Individual Training and on-the-job instruction, including practice in intelligence gathering. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • Planning aerial and satellite observations
  • Preparing maps and charts
  • Analyzing aerial photographs
  • Preparing intelligence reports
  • Using computer systems

Helpful Skills:

Helpful attributes include:

  • An interest in reading maps and charts
  • An interest in gathering information and studying its meaning
  • An ability to organize information
  • An ability to think and write clearly

Advanced Responsibilities:

As an advanced level Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator, you may also be involved in:

  • Directing the emplacement of ground control stations
  • Directing the emplacement of launch and recovery systems
  • Supervising and assisting in air frame repair
  • Coordinating evacuation and replacement of parts and end items

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