Expanded capacity of Gray Eagle ER identified as key reason for increase
The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has increased the ceiling on its contract to support modifications and capability enhancements to its Medium-altitude, Long-endurance Tactical (MALET) aircraft. The funding increase from $15 million to $93 million is in response to the significantly expanded payload capacity of the newly fielded MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Gray Eagle ER is designed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).
"We're helping USSOCOM adjust to the changing threat environment and mission needs," said David R Alexander, president, GA-ASI. "Gray Eagle ER's significant increase in endurance, range and capacity to carry internal and external payloads provides USSOCOM and other users with a platform capable of hosting multiple capabilities simultaneously."
The increased funding ceiling ensures that SOCOM has the ability to rapidly develop, procure and field new capabilities, as well as conduct studies, modifications and test events with their fleet of Gray Eagle ERs.