Capital Aircraft Takes Flight, Integration of First Production Aircraft Begins Next Month
SAN DIEGO – 8 December 2016 –General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced the commencement of flight testing for its MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) series with the successful first flight of the company’s production representative MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER aircraft from its El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, Calif., on October 29th.
“The flight of our capital MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER UAS [Unmanned Aircraft System] is a significant milestone in the continued evolution of the MQ-1C program with our U.S. Army customer,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “This marks the next step in delivering the aircraft’s increased endurance and payload capability to the warfighter.”
MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER, developed by GA-ASI on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) specifically to increase endurance and payload capacity, is a next-generation derivative of the combat-proven Gray Eagle UAS, which has accumulated over 300,000 flight hours since 2008. MQ-1C ER is expected to complete flight testing in June 2017, at which point it will begin a series of Army test events culminating in the program’s second Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation in late 2017. The first four aircraft are expected to be delivered in Q2 and Q3 2017, with an additional 15 over the course of 2018.
MQ-1C ER delivers an advanced Medium-altitude Long-endurance (MALE) capability for the Army, adding increased payload capacity, greater range and endurance, and improved maintainability. The aircraft is engineered with a Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW) of 4,200 pounds compared with Gray Eagle’s MGTOW of 3,600 pounds. The incorporation of MQ-1C ER’s straight belly design allows for more than 910 pounds of internal fuel and a centerline hard point that can accommodate an optional fuel pod with an additional 450 pounds. With endurance at more than 40 hours, the aircraft will exceed the Army’s requirement for 14 hours on station at 1,000 kilometers for all mission types.
MQ-1C ER features an upgraded Heavy Fuel Engine-180 (HFE-180) which provides increased horsepower and reliability. HFE-180 includes propulsion reliability enhancements, an improved cooling system and high-performance induction system. The new engine began flight tests on Block 1 Gray Eagle in February 2016.
MQ-1C ER’s enhanced capabilities will expand the tactical range for Intelligence, Reconnaissance, Surveillance (ISR), electronic warfare, and attack missions for the U.S. Army and other prospective customers.
High-resolution photos and video of MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER are available to qualified media outlets from the listed GA-ASI media contact.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radar, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator® A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® and Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Extended Range (ER), Gray Eagle and Gray Eagle ER, Predator C Avenger®, and Avenger ER, Predator XP, and Certifiable Predator B. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state digital Ground Control Stations (GCS), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft. It also focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, Reaper, Avenger, Lynx, and Claw are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc
For more information contact:
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
+1 (858) 312-2294