General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has partnered with the U.S. Army to enhance the capabilities and survivability of the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) UAS.
GA-ASI has been awarded several contracts from the Army to upgrade the Gray Eagle ER’s avionics, datalinks and software, to ultimately improve the operational capability of the UAS in contested environments.
According to GA-ASI, the modernization initiative provides an “open architecture concept” on the aircraft that is capable of hosting government-owned software, as well as increased autonomy that is needed to support Scalable Control Interface, and the rapid integration of long-range sensors.
GA-ASI says that these enhancements will help the Army’s vision for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) become a reality.
“The Army is investing in the Gray Eagle system because they get a tremendous performance increase as a return on their investment,” says 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.”
In an effort to modernize the datalinks on the platform, GA-ASI recently completed an open competition where the 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.”
Some of the selected vendors include L3Harris Technologies, Airbus and Ramona Research, Inc. According to GA-ASI, the modernized datalink technology will not only be “significantly more capable,” but it will also cost less per aircraft than the current datalink suite.
This article was published by AUVSI News on December 13, 2019.