GA-ASI Completes Transition to Gray Eagle Extended Range UAS

By Mike Ball / 10 Oct 2017

MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range UAS

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced that it has officially transitioned its production line from the MQ-1C Gray Eagle to its new long-range variant, the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range following the completion of the last contracted MQ-1C aircraft.

GA-ASI’s investment in airframe composite tooling enabled the company to start manufacturing the MQ-1C ER ahead of schedule, with its production running in parallel with the MQ-1C line. The first four MQ-1C ER aircraft are now being used for developmental testing that will lead to follow-on operational test and evaluation in spring 2018. Customer deliveries of MQ-1C ER will begin in summer 2018.

The MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS has been fielded to 12 U.S. Army operational units and has accumulated more than 290,000 flight hours. The MQ-1C is the Army’s most active kinetic platform in theater.

“We are proud of our many years of effort to complete the factory build of 165 MQ-1C Gray Eagles for the U.S. Army,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “We’re now focused on delivering the Gray Eagle ER and believe its endurance and other improved capabilities will be a game changer on the battlefield.”

In addition to improved reliability and maintainability, MQ-1C ER brings considerable improvement in endurance and payload capabilities. As part of a recent endurance test flight, an MQ-1C ER aircraft flew for 41.9 consecutive hours, a significant increase over the 25-hour capability of the current Gray Eagle UAS.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact