General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. today announced the successful second endurance flight of the U.S. Army's Improved Gray Eagle (IGE) prototype Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
The flight of IGE lasted 36.7 hours, taking off on January 17 and landing on January 19 at the company's El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.
"Improved Gray Eagle is a significant capability leap forward, providing for longer UAS endurance, enhanced payload carriage, and increased reliability", said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. "We are pleased that this long-endurance flight was executed seamlessly, with all objectives met."
During the flight, IGE demonstrated its ability to carry an external signals intelligence (SIGINT) pod on one wing and two Hellfire missiles on the other. The flight test was funded by the Army's Product Office for Medium Altitude Endurance (PM-MAE) UAS and was a significant milestone for the Improved Gray Eagle program, proving the validity of the aircraft's endurance claims in this specified payload configuration. IGE's first endurance flight occurred in October 2013, when the UAS flew over 45 hours in a Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) configuration, with no external payloads integrated.
Following this test, IGE will receive software updates that will allow its operation from the U.S. Army's One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS) and future Universal Ground Control System (UGCS). The Army plans to flight test the upgrade this summer.
An updated version of the U.S. Army's Gray Eagle, IGE was developed by GA-ASI on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds, with its maiden flight taking place last July. In addition to the prototype aircraft currently undergoing flight test evaluation, the company has committed to manufacturing an additional "production first article" aircraft.
IGE has a Max Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW) of 4,200 pounds, utilizing the 205HP Lycoming DEL-120 engine. The aircraft's deep belly design and 500- pound centerline hard point allows for 850 pounds of internal fuel load, with an optional external fuel pod that can accommodate an additional 450 pounds. Use of this extra fuel would allow for RSTA missions in excess of 50 hours.
Textron Systems Unmanned Systems announced it has received a new US Navy task order to provide mission support services with its Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System. The task order was issued under the US Navy Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance contract, and indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity program under which Textron will supply the SUAS, together with system operators and field service representatives on a fee-for-service basis
Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi delivered a proposal for further defining a European UAS to the Ministry of Defence of France, Germany and Italy. The offer proposes a Definition Phase which has been prepared by joint development teams of Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi and which is backed by an industrial agreement on workshare and a cooperative agreement to start the MALE2020 program
Designed for versatility and affordability, the new Lockheed Martin Vector Hawk addresses a broad set of unique missions and operating needs within a single system. With a gross takeoff weight of only four pounds and a vertical profile of only four inches, Vector Hawk boasts best-in-class payload capacity, speed and endurance
Lockheed Martin's Group 1 family of unmanned aircraft systems is migrating to enhanced automation capabilities using its Kestrel "Fly Light" flight control systems and industry-leading mobile Ground Control Station (mGCS) software. The increased automation allows operators to focus on executing the mission, rather than flying various aircraft, the company said in a statement
The Brazilian Air Force has awarded Elbit Systems a contract to supply Hermes 900 Unmanned Aircraft System which will be delivered by May 2014. The UAS will be equipped with a new and advanced intelligence gathering system
L-3 Communications announced today that its Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) business has received an award from BAE Systems to develop the Hawk Oman Training System (HOTS). The training system, which is planned to achieve its ready-for-training milestone during the first quarter of 2017, will prepare Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) pilots to operate BAE Systems Hawk MK166 Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft
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