Upgrade Provides Next-Generation Capabilities
SAN DIEGO – 26 July 2013 – 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 successful first flight of the U.S. Army's Improved Gray Eagle® (IGE), a next-generation derivative of the combat-proven Block 1 Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that has accumulated over 70,000 flight hours since 2008. The flight occurred today at the company's El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, Calif.
"Improved Gray Eagle will provide a game-changing capability, adding more endurance, more payload carriage, with increased reliability for our Army customer", said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. "The first flight of this aircraft ushers in a new era in unmanned aviation, building upon the successes of its predecessor and providing unmatched, life-saving support for our troops abroad."
IGE is a capability enhancement over the Block 1 Gray Eagle configuration and was designed for increased endurance, with 23 additional hours for reconnaissance missions. The aircraft's payload capacity features 50-plus percent more payload carriage than Gray Eagle, while also offering 50 percent more fuel capacity via its deep belly fuselage. An upgraded centerline hardpoint supports integration of a 500 pound optional external fuel tank or 360 degree sensor payload–over twice the capability of the current Gray Eagle. Lastly, IGE's additional space, combined with an improved Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE), provides growth capability for an improved airworthiness design, with the potential of incorporating lightning protection, damage tolerance, and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) features.
The innovative and technologically sophisticated Gray Eagle aircraft performs long-endurance surveillance, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions with double the weapons capacity of the combat-proven Predator®. Featuring a HFE for increased supportability
in the field, the aircraft is also equipped with triple redundant avionics, redundant flight controls/ surfaces, and Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payloads. Gray Eagle is currently operational and anticipates a full-rate production decision in June.
High-resolution photos of the first flight of IGE will be available to qualified media outlets from the GA-ASI media contact listed below early next week.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company's Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, Gray Eagle, the new Predator C Avenger®, and Predator XP. 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 Reconnaissance Systems Group 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 develops and integrates other sensor and communication equipment into manned ISR aircraft and develops emerging technologies in solid-state lasers, electro-optic sensors, and ultra-wideband data links for government applications. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Gray Eagle, Predator, Avenger, Lynx, and Claw are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
For more information contact:
Public Relations Manager
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.