General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has announced that it has been awarded multiple contracts by the U.S. Army to enhance the capabilities and survivability of the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). GA-ASI will upgrade the Gray Eagle ER’s avionics, datalinks and software in order to improve the aircraft’s operational capability in hostile environments.
The new upgrades, which will support the Army’s requirements for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), utilize an open architecture on the UAS that can support government software as well as autonomy capabilities that will facilitate Scalable Control Interface and the rapid integration of long-range sensors.
An open competition was recently held in order to source the technologies required to modernize the datalinks on the Gray Eagle ER UAS. It addition to the modular architecture, requirements included reduction in size, weight, and power (SWaP), increased reliability, Soldier maintainability, and growth for future MDO requirements. Vendors selected include L3Harris Technologies, Airbus, Hughes Network Systems, LLC and Ramona Research, Inc. The modernized datalink solution will be significantly more capable and will also cost less per aircraft than the current datalink suite.
David R. Alexander, president of GA-ASI, commented: “The Army is investing in the Gray Eagle system because they get a tremendous performance increase as a return on their investment. GE-ER provides the U.S. Army with a UAS that adjusts to the changing threat environment and mission needs with unmatched endurance.”