Gray Eagle production transitions to ER model
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has transitioned its production line from the MQ-1C Gray Eagle to its new long-range variant MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle extended range (ER), the company announced on 10 October.
The transition comes after GA-ASI completed the last contracted MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS, which has been deployed to 12 US Army operational units and has accumulated over 290,000 flight hours. The MQ-1C is the army's most active kinetic platform.
According to the company, the MQ-1C ER brings considerable improvement in endurance and payload capabilities, in addition to improved reliability and maintainability.
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.
The first four MQ-1C ER aircraft are now 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 2018.
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