SP's LandForces - - NEWS IN BRIEF -

Gen­eral Atomics Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems, Inc. (GA-ASI) of­fi­cially tran­si­tioned its pro­duc­tion line from the MQ-1C Gray Ea­gle to its new long-range vari­ant, the MQ-1C ER Gray Ea­gle Ex­tended Range fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the last con­tracted MQ-1C air­craft.

GA-ASI’s in­vest­ment in air­frame com­pos­ite tool­ing en­abled the com­pany to start man­u­fac­tur­ing the MQ-1C ER ahead of sched­ule, with its pro­duc­tion run­ning in par­al­lel with the MQ-1C line. The first four MQ-1C ER air­craft are now be­ing 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 sum­mer 2018.

The MQ-1C Gray Ea­gle UAS has been fielded to 12 US Army op­er­a­tional units and has ac­cu­mu­lated more than 290,000 flight hours. The MQ-1C is the Army’s most ac­tive ki­netic plat­form in the­ater.

In ad­di­tion to im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity and main­tain­abil­ity, MQ-1C ER brings con­sid­er­able im­prove­ment in en­durance and pay­load ca­pa­bil­i­ties. 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.

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