Improved Gray Eagle (IGE) is a next-generation advanced derivative of the battle-proven Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). IGE delivers long-endurance UAS surveillance, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions in support of the warfighter. The aircraft delivers an advanced UAS capability for the Army, adding greater endurance and more payload carriage, with increased reliability. First flown in July 2013, IGE builds upon the successes of its Gray Eagle predecessor, delivering upgraded, game-changing capabilities for saving the lives of Army soldiers abroad by providing extended surveillance coverage, along with the ability to self-transit to distant locations.
IGE is engineered with a Max Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW) of 4,200 pounds, utilizing a high-performance diesel engine compared with the Gray Eagle's GTOW of 3,600 pounds with a 160HP diesel engine. The incorporation of IGE's deep belly design and 500-pound centerline hard point allows for 860 pounds of internal fuel load, with an optional external fuel pod that can accommodate an additional 450 pounds (Gray Eagle's fuel load is 575 pounds). Use of this extra fuel supports Army Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) missions in excess of 50 hours. In October 2013, IGE flew nearly two days straight during endurance flight testing at GA-ASI's El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, California.
IGE's internal payload capacity, combined with its increased engine horsepower, provides growth capability for an improved airworthiness design, with the potential of incorporating lightning protection, damage tolerance, and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) features.
IGE features an automatic takeoff and landing system (ATLS) that allows the aircraft to be launched and recovered without any operator interaction. Its ATLS is based upon GA-ASI's Gray Eagle ATLS which has successfully conducted tens of thousands of takeoffs and landings.
- Technologically advanced derivative of the combat-proven Gray Eagle UAS
- Increased endurance (up to 48 hours)
- Dedicated to direct operational control by U.S. Army field commanders
- Unprecedented reliability
- Triple-redundant avionics and flight controls
- Redundant flight control surfaces
- Common Data Link (CDL) line-of-sight communications/air data relay communications
- Satellite communications
- Open, modular architecture supports integration of three payloads simultaneously, with capacity for growth
- Automatic takeoff and landing reduces pilot workload
- De-icing system
- HFE offsets the logistical need for special fuels on the battlefield
- Controlled by the U.S. Army One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS)
- C-130 transportable