General Atomics’ MQ-1C Extended Range Variant Surpasses Flight Test Goal

An extended-range variant of General AtomicsMQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system has exceeded the 40-hour goal during an endurance flight test.

General Atomics said Thursday MQ-1C ER was configured for a representative U.S. Army mission and flew 41.9 hours after the UAS was launched from El Mirage, California.

It marked the aircraft’s 43rd test flight since Oct. 29, 2016,

“This is an important milestone for the MQ-1C ER program,” said David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business.

The company will fly the UAS platform in Dugway, Utah, next month as part of the Army’s First Article Test to further evaluate aircraft range, endurance and payload capacity.

MQ-1C ER is slated to undergo a logistics demonstration in January 2018 and a follow-on operational test and evaluation in March.

The Army aims to field the system by August next year.

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