SAN DIEGO. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced on March 24 that the family of Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) surpassed one million flight hours on March 16 during US Army flight operations.
This historic milestone is the latest accomplishment on a remarkable journey that started in March 2004 with the first flight of an early variant of the Gray Eagle UAS family called Army IGNAT. Since that first flight, GA-ASI and the US Army have fielded over 250 Gray Eagle-type aircraft, including the new Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) aircraft. Over 80 per cent of the one million flight hours were flown in support of deployed operations with a better than 90% Mission Capable Rate.
“This landmark event demonstrates the inherent value of our Gray Eagle systems for the warfighter,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “It also is a testament to the great partnership between GA-ASI and the US 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 (MDO).”
The GE-ER UAS is a 40-hour endurance aircraft with increased payload capacity, reliability and maintainability over the legacy MQ-1C Gray Eagle first fielded in 2009. On the dawn of the next million flight hours, GE-ER is being further enhanced under the US 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-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.