The Gray Eagle family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), has recently surpassed one million flight hours. The milestone was reached during U.S. Army flight operations with the aircraft.
Since the first flight in March 2004 of an early variant of the Gray Eagle UAS family known as Army IGNAT, GA-ASI and the U.S. Army have fielded over 250 Gray Eagle-type aircraft, including the new Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) aircraft. Over 80% of the 1 million flight hours were flown in support of deployed operations with a better than 90% Mission Capable Rate.
The GE-ER UAS features an endurance of 40 hours, and provides increased payload capacity, reliability and maintainability over the legacy MQ-1C Gray Eagle. The platform is being further enhanced under the U.S. Army’s modernization program to incorporate leading-edge technology for standoff survivability, while expanding the payload capabilities to include Air Launched Effects (ALEs) and long-range sensors for stand-in effects. This MDO (Multi-Domain Operations)-ready UAS will be powered by a new 200-hp Enhanced Heavy Fuel Engine and dual 7.5kw brushless generators to enable the growing capabilities needed by commanders in the future MDO environment.
David R. Alexander, President of GA-ASI, commented: “This landmark event demonstrates the inherent value of our Gray Eagle systems for the warfighter. It also is a testament to the great partnership between GA-ASI and the U.S. Army, which have worked together to expand the capability of Gray Eagle so the system will continue to be a key enabler for today’s mission and an enduring platform for tomorrow’s Multi-Domain Operations.”