General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced today that the family of Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) surpassed 1 million flight hours on March 16, 2021 during U.S. 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 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 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 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-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.
“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 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 (MDO).”
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than six million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.