General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has launched its latest variant of the Gray Eagle line of Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Gray Eagle 25M. The GE-25M brings a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)-capable system to ensure incremental enhancements can be made at the speed of emerging threats.
The «M» in 25M stands for Modernized and incorporates open architecture aircraft and ground systems, advanced datalinks, and an upgraded propulsion system, significantly enhancing the ability to add new capabilities, provide resilience to electronic threats, and deliver expeditionary employment to austere locations.
«GE-25M incorporates MOSA across the aircraft and ground system architectures, which enables rapid integration of advanced payloads and communication equipment, along with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) capabilities», said GA-ASI Vice President of Army Programs Don Cattell. «This will reduce the sensor-to-shooter timelines, while simultaneously reducing the datalink bandwidth requirements in a contested environment, thus increasing range and resiliency».
The onboard ‘edge processing’ capability will maximize the utility of the Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance aircraft providing, in near real time, threat Detection, Identification, Location and Reporting (DILR) to the U.S. Army and Joint Force. Furthermore, the software components are being designed to be portable to other manned and unmanned aircraft systems the U.S. Army is developing, enhancing capability while reducing cost.
Multi-Intelligence sensors on the new UAS deliver actionable information, providing commanders with reach, overmatch, and combat options. GE-25M provides advanced teaming with Future Vertical Lift (FVL), Air-Launched Effects (ALE), and joint assets for Stand-Off Survivability with Stand-In Capability, facilitating convergence among cross-domain fires.
The new platform provides critical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition (RSTA) capability to Division Commanders, and acts as a quarterback providing a persistent, key communication node in the aerial tier network.
Earlier this year, factory upgrades began on two U.S. Army Gray Eagle Extended Range UAS which will become the first 25M variants. These 25M aircraft are scheduled for flight test and qualification beginning in 2023. The GE-25M comes packaged with a next-generation SAR with long range sensing and navigation capability, and a menu of advanced sensors and payloads mission-tailorable options. The GE-25M is controlled from a laptop-based MOSA ground station, reducing material footprint while dramatically improving transportability, as well as enabling expeditionary operations.