General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has performed a flight demonstration employing Small Glide Munitions (SGMs) on a US Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) unmanned aerial system (UAS).
The flight demonstration took place between August 21-22 at an unnamed military test range in California, alongside the US Army and Dynetics. The Gray Eagle ER – a product of GA-ASI – was integrated with Dynetics' GBU-69B SGM, a lightweight munition which boasts an increased effective range and enables the MQ-1C to carry more ammunition.
David R Alexander, president of GA-ASI, said: “The increased standoff range of the SGM enhances Gray Eagle ER’s survivability and mission effectiveness when operating in contested airspace."
GA-ASI added that when the GBU-69B is launched from the MQ-1C's maximum altitude, it can reach even greater ranges, effectively engaging targets in a multi-domain and even contested operational environment, while keeping out of range of the engagement zones of enemy weapons.
The Gray Eagle ER is the long-range version of the GA-ASI's MQ-1 family and the variant's first flight took place in October 2016. The aircraft has since entered full-rate production and the US Army aimed to complete operational testing and begin fielding the Gray Eagle ER by the end of Fiscal Year 2019.