Gray Ea­gle com­pletes 20,000 au­to­mated take-offs and land­ings


Gen­eral Atomics Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems Inc. (GA-ASI), a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of re­motely pi­loted air­craft (RPA), tac­ti­cal re­con­nais­sance radars, and elec­tro-op­tic sur­veil­lance sys­tems, an­nounced that its Gray Ea­gle un­manned air­craft sys­tem (UAS) has reached a record 20,000 suc­cess­ful au­to­matic launch and re­cov­er­ies with the au­to­matic take-off and land­ing sys­tem (ATLS).

This mile­stone was achieved on Septem­ber 25 and comes just 15 months af­ter reach­ing 10,000 events in June 2012.

ATLS has been de­ployed at eight sites world­wide, in­clud­ing three over­seas, with four ad­di­tional sites planned by Jan­uary 2015. Re­cently, suc­cess­ful ATLS flight test­ing was per­formed in sup­port of a re­duced take-off and land­ing pat­tern for op­er­a­tions in lim­ited air space.

“In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing the Army with sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ings through op­ti­mised op­er­a­tor work­load and train­ing, Gray Ea­gle’s ATLS con­tin­ues to in­crease the air­craft’s re­li­a­bil­ity,” said Frank W. Pace, Pres­i­dent, Air­craft Sys­tems Group, GA-ASI. “Th­ese last 10,000 take-offs and land­ings were achieved with­out a sin­gle event of sig­nif­i­cant dam­age.”

Cur­rently fly­ing 3,200 flight hours per month, the Army’s Gray Ea­gle Block 1 air­craft has ac­cu­mu­lated more than 80,000 flight hours since it was first de­ployed in 2009. The fleet has grown to 75 air­craft de­liv­ered, with another 34 planned within the next 14 months. Within the last year, cu­mu­la­tive flight hours were up 64 per cent as Gray Ea­gle con­tin­ues to pro­vide un­ri­valed and in­no­va­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the war-fighter.

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