With only two years of production left for the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1C Gray Eagle, the US Army is pushing to add an extended range variant to the production line in fiscal year 2015.
Col Timothy Baxter, the army’s program manager for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, says that FY2015 will be a “target of opportunity” for producing what the services calls the Improved Gray Eagle.
Endurance is significantly improved on the enhanced variant, rising to 46h – nearly double the 24h demonstrated by the current-generation MQ-1C.
The army’s requirement to start Improved Gray Eagle production was not funded in the president’s FY2015 budget request.
However, the House Armed Services Committee recently passed a 2015 defense authorization bill that would allocate funding for the upgraded type.