General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has flown a new survivable Air-Launched Effect (ALE) for the first time as part of a flight demonstration based out of the Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. The flight took place on December 8th 2022.
Known as Eaglet, the ALE is a low-cost, survivable UAS (unmanned aerial system), designed to be launched from Gray Eagle UAV, helicopters, or ground vehicles. During the technical demonstration with Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC), the Eaglet was launched from a U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) UAS.
Eaglet fits into the ‘ALE Large’ category, which encompasses larger, more powerful sensors or payloads. Because of its design, Eaglet is capable of carrying a diverse range of payloads in support of multiple Army missions. It can also work in concert with other long-range payloads carried by Gray Eagles, helicopters, or other platforms, to support deep sensing in Multi-Domain Operations.
Gray Eagle can carry Eaglet for thousands of kilometers before launching it, while being controlled through unmanned-unmanned teaming or as a component of advanced teaming command and control concepts.
“The first flight of the Eaglet was an important milestone for the GA-ASI/U.S. Army team,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Eaglet is intended to be a low-cost, survivable UAS with the versatility to be launched from a Gray Eagle, rotary-wing aircraft, or ground vehicles. It enables extended reach of sensors and increased lethality while providing survivability for manned aircraft.”
Eaglet design extends battlefield options for commanders while reducing their decision cycles. Following this successful flight, GA-ASI will work with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to feature the Eaglet in other exercises to further determine its potential.
The Eaglet flight was jointly funded by GA-ASI and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC).