General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has teamed with the U.S. Army to enhance the capabilities and survivability of the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
The Army awarded GA-ASI multiple contracts to upgrade the Gray Eagle ER’s avionics, datalinks and software in order to improve the UAS’s operational capability in contested environments. The modernization initiative provides an open architecture concept on the aircraft that is capable of hosting government-owned software, as well as increased autonomy required to support Scalable Control Interface and the rapid integration of long-range sensors. These enhancements will enable the Army’s vision for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).
“The Army is investing in the Gray Eagle system because they get a tremendous performance increase as a return on their investment,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “GE-ER provides the U.S. Army with a UAS that adjusts to the changing threat environment and mission needs with unmatched endurance.”
GA-ASI recently completed an open competition to modernize the datalinks on the platform. Tenets for the “best of breed” datalink competition included modular architecture with government-owned interfaces, reduction in size, weight, and power, with increased reliability, Soldier maintainability, and growth for future MDO requirements. Vendors selected include L3Harris Technologies, Airbus, Hughes Network Systems, LLC and Ramona Research, Inc. The modernized datalink solution, while significantly more capable, will cost less per aircraft than the current datalink suite.