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ROVER, which stands for Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, is a system which allows ground forces, such as Forward Air Controllers (FAC), to see what an aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is seeing in real time by receiving images acquired by the aircraft's sensors on a laptop on the ground. There's no time delay and usage of ROVER greatly improves the FAC on the ground reconnaissance and target identification which are essential to close air support.


ROVER system

The initial ROVER system, ROVER I, was developed in 2002 to allow ground forces to view video feeds from Predator UAVs or AC-130 gunships. The interface was so large it was carried in a HMMWV, but it avoided the long delay of having to call a distant UAV controller and ask what the aircraft was seeing. By fall of 2004, the system's size was reduced to that of a 12 lb device carried in a backpack. ROVER IV plans to include the capability to interface with a wide variety of aircraft and also allow interaction between ground controllers and close air support pilots. With ROVER III, ground controllers have to talk the pilot to the target since they only see the image the aircraft transmits. ROVER IV seeks to use GPS and other systems to allow the controller to click a target they would like the aircraft to engage or the UAV operator to focus on. ROVER is compatible with UAVs and aircraft carrying the LITENING targeting pod as well as other targeting systems.[1]

US Navy usage

ROVER III capability was added to the F-14D Tomcat during its last deployment. It was first used by VF-31 and VF-213 on their last cruise with the F-14 Tomcat in 2005 and 2006. Within days of the modification teams arrival on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) all F-14 Tomcats had complete ROVER capability. Before ROVER, ground controllers had to rely on "visual talk-ons" to hunt enemy ground forces and would use a map to guide pilots where they needed to go. A joint VF-31/VF-213 investigation revealed that it would be possible to modify the F-14D Super Tomcat with off-the-shelf technology for only $800 dollars per aircraft.

A team of F-14D experts from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) F-14 Program Office (PMA-241) staff at Naval Air Station Patuxent River was presented with this idea in early November 2005 and were able to research, develop and field this technology within a six-week window. Northrop Grumman employees from Naval Air Station Oceana and members of the fleet support team from Naval Air Systems Command Depot at Naval Air Station Jacksonville performed the aircraft modification.

F/A-18 Hornets from VFA-25, VFA-113, VFA-22 and VFA-115 were also modified with ROVER capability for the first deployment of the USS Ronald Reagan in 2006.[2]


  1. James Dunnigan. Soldier Demands Spur Development of New Gear. October 13, 2005.
  2. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Returns Following 6-Month Deployment. July 6, 2006.

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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See also Rover



Etymology 1

Middle English roven, to wander, to shoot an arrow randomly




rover (plural rovers)

  1. (archery) (usually plural) A randomly selected target.
    1890 "By my hilt! no. There was little Robby Withstaff, and Andrew Salblaster, and Wat Alspaye, who broke the neck of the German. Mon Dieu! what men they were! Take them how you would, at long butts or short, hoyles, rounds, or rovers, better bowmen never twirled a shaft over their thumb-nails." — Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company, Chapter 22.
  2. One who roves.
    1846 But these islands, undisturbed for years, relapsed into their previous obscurity; and it is only recently that anything has been known concerning them. Once in the course of a half century, to be sure, some adventurous rover would break in upon their peaceful repose. and astonished at the unusual scene, would be almost tempted to claim the merit of a new discovery. — Herman Melville, Typee, Chapter 1.
  3. A vehicle for exploring extraterrestrial bodies.
    The Mars Exploration Rovers will act as robot geologists while they are on the surface of Mars. NASA site.
  4. Position in Australian Rules football, one of three of a team's followers, who follow the ball around the ground. Formerly a position for short players, rovers in professional leagues are frequently over 183 cm (6').

Etymology 2

From Middle Dutch, roven, to rob.




rover (plural rovers)

  1. A pirate or pirate ship.
    1719 The first was this: our ship making her course towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those islands and the African shore, was surprised in the grey of the morning by a Turkish rover of Sallee, who gave chase to us with all the sail she could make. — Daniel Defoe, Robinnson Crusoe, Chapter 2.



roven + -er


rover (plural rovers, diminutive rovertje, diminutive plural rovertjes)

  1. robber

Related terms

Derived terms

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