Gray Eagle UAS to gain EW attack capabilities
The US Army’s MQ-1C Grey Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be fitted with an electronic attack payload capable of jamming enemy communications systems for the first time. Raytheon has delivered two of the payloads in support of the army’s Networked Electronic Warfare, Remotely Operated (NERO) system.
The payloads were delivered as part of a 2012 contract awarded by the US Navy NAVSEA-Crane.
NERO builds on the success of the army's Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CEASAR) programme. By migrating the same pod system and advanced capability to the Gray Eagle, NERO is capable of two- to three-times longer missions with reduced operating costs compared with the current C-12 based CEASAR system. It also reduces risk to the warfighter by being mounted onto an unmanned platform.
Glen Bassett, director of Advanced Communications and Countermeasures, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said: ‘NERO provides critical jamming capabilities to warfighters in counterinsurgency environments. We leveraged our combat-proven success from the manned CEASAR programme to deliver this key tactical electronic attack capability onto an unmanned application.’
CEASAR, first awarded in 2010, was mounted onto a Beechcraft King Air C-12 aircraft and uses the same lightweight pod as NERO. Both systems enable the army to control use of the electromagnetic spectrum by providing beyond line of sight jamming capability to support ground troop operations.
The Gray Eagle UAV is an upgrade of the MQ-1 Predator. The armed, 3,600-pound UAV has the ability to perform 24 hour missions at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet, performing reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, precision attack, and communications relay missions. The US Army deployed the first full company of 12 Gray Eagle aircraft to Afghanistan in June 2012.
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