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Running head: 3.5 1 3.5 The MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE 5

Running head: 3.5 1

3.5 The MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE 5









The MQ-1C Gray Eagle

Student’s Name:

Institution: ERAU

Course: ASCI 623

Instructor’s Name:







Research Question and Hypothesis

Research question:

What are the MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE design capabilities when it comes to performance, multi-payload/weight capability, and airframe sensors? Will these developments contribute to the other unmanned aircraft systems?


While the MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE has the capability to provide immediate support to multiple deployed theaters, it has excellent capabilities when it comes to situational awareness, aerodynamics, long-range ISR payloads, and Ka-band satellite communications capability.


MQ-1C Gray Eagle is an extended range / multipurpose (ER/MP) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the US Army. It is an improved variant of the combat-proven Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Gray Eagle performs reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, command and control, communications relay, signals intelligence (SIGINT), electronic warfare (EW), attack, improvised explosive device (IED) and battle damage assessment missions (“MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER/MP,” n.d.). Gray Eagle aircraft accomplished more than 1,700 flight hours during a total of 238 flights during the initial seven-month training and evaluation period. The first full company of Gray Eagle UAS, F/227, was deployed in June 2012. The army plans to acquire 11 Warrior units, each unit with 12 UAVs and five ground control stations. To date, 61 Gray Eagle aircraft have been handed over to the US Army, with additional 44 aircraft currently on order (“MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER/MP,” n.d.).

While the MQ-1C Gray Eagle has been used for decades, they are increasing in number and effectiveness as aircraft, sensors, and automation technologies mature. Consequently, the potential benefits of this system are now projected to extend well beyond military use – to a variety of domestic applications that will improve the safety of our communities, strengthen public services and achieve countless additional benefits to a wide variety of commercial and government organizations (“Unmanned Aircraft Systems: PercePtions,” n.d.). In addition to the cost factor, MQ-1C Gray Eagle systems can perform a number of missions that are too dangerous or are beyond the technical capabilities of manned aircraft (Rodriguez, 2016). Besides, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle has unique design capabilities. It features a fault-tolerant control system based on the Predator airframe design. The aircraft has an architecture of three-dimensional avionics systems. The modular architecture of Gray Eagle allows multiple payloads to be integrated and operated (Path, 2020). It can carry several payloads, including an electronic / infrasound (EO / IR) laser-designated, STARLite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)/GMTI sensor, a communication relay, and four Hellfire missiles, respectively (Path, 2020). Thielert’s heavy-fuel engine drives the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. Its engine provides better fuel efficiency during combustion of either jet or diesel fuel.

For missions that require stealth and longevity, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle is the best choice because it is less detectable, harder to hit with small arms, have better sensors, loiter longer and more slowly, and can “provide a real-time feed to operation centers at some fraction of the cost (in terms of risk, dollars, and manpower) of rotary-wing assets (Lowe et al., 2014). While the MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE can provide immediate support to multiple deployed theaters, it has excellent capabilities that will be broadly discussed, such as situational awareness, aerodynamics, long-range ISR payloads, and Ka-band satellite communications capability.






Blinde Loren. (2019). Army posts RFI for MQ-1C tactical SIGINT payload. Retrieved from

Frank Wolfe. (2019). US Army Plans Addition of Ka Band for Gray Eagle to Bolster Communications. Retrieved from

General Atomics plans air launched effect test from MQ-1C Gray Eagle this summer. (2020, April 21)., NA. Retrieved from

General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle. (2016). Retrieved from

Key improvements to unmanned aerial and underwater systems planned for near future. (2019). Retrieved from

Lee Connie. (2020). Army’s Gray Eagle Prepping For Multi-Domain Operations. Retrieved from


Martin, M. J., U.S.A.F., Rivera, B., U.S.N.R., & Toivanen, J. (2014). “Finnishing” the force: Achieving true flexibility for the joint force commander. Air & Space Power Journal, 28(3), 76-103. Retrieved from

Path Neal. (2020). Gray Eagle MQ-1C Unmanned Aircraft System. Retrieved from

MQ-1C Extended Range Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). (n.d.). Retrieved from

MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (MQ-1C Gray Eagle). (2017). Retrieved from

MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER/MP Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rodriguez Nancy. (2016). Considerations and Recommendations for Implementing an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program. Retrieved from

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: PercePtions & Potential. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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