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Gray Eagle UAS- A Soldier’s UAS

Written by on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates addressed students at the Air War College five years ago and told them that getting the U.S. Air Force to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to support troops on the ground was like “pulling teeth”. Knowing that video links from both the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) were mostly kept at the Combat Air Operations Centers (CAOC) levels and not distributed to soldiers on the ground was a frustration that was not missed by the former Secretary. The U.S. Army’s response to the lack of sharing of video links was to develop their own organic capability called the Gray Eagle UAS.

The Gray Eagle UAS looks remarkably similar to the U.S. Air Force’s Reaper UAS because they are both built by General Atomics and both have similar characteristics. Like the Reaper, the Gray Eagle can perform hours and hours of ISR operations while also being able to engage targets with Hellfire missiles. Unlike the Reaper, the Gray Eagle UAS has an automatic landing system, a fuel buy cialis without rx system that is capable of using ground vehicle fuel instead of aviation grade fuel and most importantly, comes equipped with a linked system that allows video feed to troops on the ground and to attack helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache, if needed. In addition, the Gray Eagle UAS is capable of near all-weather operations with the addition of an anti-icing system and a triple redundant flight control system, all of which gives the Gray Eagle UAS an operational combat envelope that is more flexible and more resilient to various flight conditions than both the Predator and Reaper.

The Gray Eagle UAS has completed its initial Operational Testing at Fort Irwin, California and is currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of combat operations. It’s interesting to note that what started as a response to the U.S. Air Force’s unwillingness to integrate the Predator and Reaper into the U.S. Army’s ground movements, has moved to the development of arguably the most flexible and combat capable UAS aircraft in the world.

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