The U.S. leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, General Atomics Aeronautical System has was awarded a $21,7 million modification contract for MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range aircraft with spares and ground support equipment, reported by the Scramble Magazine.
According to Scramble Magazine citing the U.S. Department of Defense, the aircraft with spare parts will be built in Poway and delivered to the U.S. Army by 31 July 2021.
“Work will be performed in Poway, California, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2021,” said in a statement.
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is a long-range, long-dwell unmanned aircraft system which is dedicated to direct operational control by Army field commanders. Its expansive mission set includes, but is not limited, to wide-area Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), convoy protection, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and defeat, close air support, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions.
It is cheaper to purchase and maintain than a helicopter and it can stay in the air for longer stretches of time. Essentially, the Gray Eagle is the latest version of the Predator series of drones, retooled and upgraded for Army-specific needs.
Gray Eagle also features an automatic takeoff and landing system (ATLS) that allows the aircraft to be launched and recovered without any operator interaction. Gray Eagle aircraft have successfully conducted tens of thousands of takeoffs and landings.