General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) successfully performed the first flight tests of the next-generation flight computer for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The tests took place at GA-ASI’s El Mirage Flight Test Facility in El Mirage, Calif., as part of the U.S. Army-funded development efforts to upgrade and modernize the GE-ER.
GA-ASI successfully flight tested the new Flight Control Module (FCM) on Sept. 13-14, 2022. The flights included the Eagle Flight Computer Assembly (EFCA) that provides increased processing power, memory, and a high speed ethernet interface. Modernized avionics will enable advanced computing, Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), and automation, as well as redundancy, and environmental improvements.
This series of flight tests also provides critical risk reduction for the FCM-based Gray Eagle 25M UAS along with advanced datalinks, avionics, and communications enhancements, and HFE 2.0 and Brushless Generator capabilities, which are scheduled to begin flight test in early 2023.
“Together with our U.S. Army teammates, we’re making important progress in preparing GE-ER for successful Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) in contested environments,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Army Programs Don Cattell. “Completion of the GE-ER modernization enables mission readiness, reliability, versatility and success for the Army’s highest priority Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Targeting and Acquisition (RSTA) missions at all echelons of command.”