On August 6th MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (MQ-1C ER) aircraft completed a 41.9-hour endurance flight, exceeding the 40 hour flight test goal. The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), designed and developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), flew out of El Mirage, Calif. in a representative U.S. Army mission configuration. Since the first flight of MQ-1C ER on October 29, 2016, the aircraft has flown 43 test flights and accumulated over 260 hours in the air.
“This is an important milestone for the MQ-1C ER program,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “The MQ-1C ER represents a significant enhancement in capability over the currently fielded MQ-1C and will be a game changer on the battlefield in support of our Army customer.”
Starting in late August, the MQ-1C ER production aircraft will begin flight test in Dugway, Utah for evaluation of the Army’s First Article Test (FAT). FAT will demonstrate MQ-1C ER’s mission capabilities, which include increased range, endurance, and payload capacity.
In January 2018, MQ-1C ER will go through Logistics Demonstration (Log Demo) where aircraft maintainability will be validated. Then in March 2018, Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation2 (FOTE2) will demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to meet all Army operational requirements in preparation for fielding, which is planned for August 2018.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. Celebrating over 25 years of aviation innovation, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.
For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com.