While they still lack some of the capabilities of manned aircraft, the newest generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has several qualities that the U.S. Navy and other military branches find highly attractive. For Sailors with the Naval Aircrewmen (AW) rating who have entered the Mechanical (AWF) or Avionics (AWV) fields, the increasing use of UAVs offers the opportunity to acquire technical expertise in a field that is growing just as faster—if not faster—in the civilian world as it is in the military.

The most obvious reason the Navy finds UAVs attractive is because their use eliminates not only the possibility of human casualties due to hostile encounters or even accidents, but also the need for complicated environmental control systems which, in turn, must be inspected and maintained at considerable costs. UAVs can enter airspace that would be unsafe for prolonged human exposure (elevated heat or radiation levels, for instance), and they typically have fuel and range capabilities that allow them to stay in the air far longer than manned aircraft—and their remote crews can be replaced mid-flight to avoid fatigue.

Under the current rating system, two jobs in the AWF (Naval Aircrewman, Mechanical) service rating—Air Warfare Systems Engineer (AWSE) and Aircrew Readiness Manager—involved UAVs, but the latter is only involved when Night-Vision Devices are utilized. The AWSE helps plan Naval Special Warfare Operations, pilots UAVs, and operates all the systems on the UAV including camera and radio.

The other service rating involved with UAVs is Naval Aircrewman, Avionics (AWV). Responsible for all aspects of UAV operation, maintenance, inspection, and troubleshooting, the UAV Pilot/Maintainer eventually (paygrade E7) is involved with contract designers and engineers in the coordination of weapons systems design, manages programs overseeing acquisition of UAVs for the fleet, administers aircrew training programs, and certifies aircraft records.

With the arrival of newer, more robust UAVs such as the MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling platform, the need for UAV pilots and operators will surely grow at a healthy rate over the next decade and beyond.

Important: Due to the extremely low demand on this item, it is manufactured on order. While we might have some in stock, please allow for up to 10 business days processing time.

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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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