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Gray Eagle ER programme marches on

4th February 2022 - 12:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A US Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle lands at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on 1 October 2021. (Photo: USMC/Sgt Branden Bourque)

General Atomics and US Army demonstrated the advanced data link capability of the Gray Eagle Extended Range UAS in a recent ground test.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) expects flight tests of its modernised MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) UAS to take place in Q4 this year, after it successfully tested an advanced data link capability on the aircraft.

The joint US Army and GA-ASI ground demonstration in December 2021 showed the capability of the UAS ‘to maintain link [via Link 16] and support high bandwidth data rates with Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) Ku/Ka-band satellites and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) Ka-band satellites with common hardware and software’, GA-ASI noted in a 3 February statement.

As a result, the modernised Gray Eagle would be able to use multiple satellite constellations to support continuous operations in contested environments.

‘Extensive use of Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) principles, along with Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), made this capability possible,’ said Don Cattell, VP of army programmes at GA-ASI.

Shephard Defence Insight calculates that 111 Gray Eagle ER aircraft will be supplied to the US Army.

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