GA-ASI Transitions to An All Gray Eagle Extended Range Production Line for the U.S. Army
13 October 2017
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. officially transitioned its production line from the MQ-1C Gray Eagle to its new long-range variant, the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range following the completion of the last contracted MQ-1C aircraft.
GA-ASI’s investment in airframe composite tooling enabled the company to start manufacturing the MQ-1C ER ahead of schedule, with its production running in parallel with the MQ-1C line. The first four MQ-1C ER aircraft are now being used for developmental testing that will lead to follow-on operational test and evaluation in spring 2018. Customer deliveries of MQ-1C ER will begin in summer 2018.
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS has been fielded to 12 U.S. Army operational units and has accumulated more than 290,000 flight hours. The MQ-1C is the Army's most active kinetic platform in theater.
“We are proud of our many years of effort to complete the factory build of 165 MQ-1C Gray Eagles for the U.S. Army,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “We’re now focused on delivering the Gray Eagle ER and believe its endurance and other improved capabilities will be a game changer on the battlefield.”
In addition to improved reliability and maintainability, MQ-1C ER brings considerable improvement in endurance and payload capabilities. As part of a recent endurance test flight, an MQ-1C ER aircraft flew for 41.9 consecutive hours, a significant increase over the 25-hour capability of the current Gray Eagle UAS.