The US Army has awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) multiple contracts to upgrade avionics, datalinks and software of MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) drones.
"The Army awarded GA-ASI multiple contracts to upgrade the Gray Eagle ER’s avionics, datalinks and software in order to improve the Unmanned Aircraft System's operational capability in contested environments," the company said in a statement Thursday.
The modernization initiative provides an open architecture concept on the aircraft that is capable of hosting government-owned software, as well as increased autonomy required to support Scalable Control Interface and the rapid integration of long-range sensors. These enhancements will enable the Army’s vision for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).
GA-ASI recently completed an open competition to modernize the datalinks on the platform. Tenets for the datalink competition included modular architecture with government-owned interfaces, reduction in size, weight, and power, with increased reliability, Soldier maintainability, and growth for future MDO requirements, the company said.
Vendors selected include L3Harris Technologies, Airbus, Hughes Network Systems, LLC and Ramona Research, Inc.
General Atomics claims that the modernized datalink solution will cost less per aircraft than the current datalink suite.