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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has teamed with the US Army to enhance the capabilities and survivability of the MQ-1C ER GRAY EAGLE Extended Range (GE-ER) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the company announced on 12 December.

The Army has awarded multiple contracts to GA-ASI to upgrade GE-ER 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, capable of hosting government-owned software, as well as the 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 of GA-ASI. “GE-ER provides the US 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 and Ramona Research. The modernized datalink solution, while significantly more capable, will cost less per aircraft than the current datalink suite.

The modernization effort now under way will enhance performance and enable GRAY EAGLE to conduct future multi-domain operations in the manner the Army envisages. (Photo: GA-ASI)

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