General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA ASI), a manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), radars and electro-optic and related mission solutions, has been awarded a full-rate production contract by the U.S. Army for 19 Improved Gray Eagle (IGE) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to be delivered by September 2018.
IGE is a next-generation advanced derivative of the Army's Gray Eagle UAS that has accumulated more than 228,000 flight hours since 2008. Developed on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds, GA-ASI built upon the success of its Gray Eagle predecessor, delivering capabilities that will perform ISR collection and close air support of ground forces through longer persistence, a variety of sensor and weapons payloads, and extended range that affords the ability to operate from safe locations and transit into areas of conflict.
IGE can be fielded with baseline Gray Eagle units because there are limited differences in operating, maintaining and training between the two aircraft types. Due to many hardware and software commonalities with Gray Eagle, IGE can be based, maintained and operated in the same units and at the same locations as Gray Eagle, providing the Army with flexibility in manning and logistics to support UAS operations.